Description of the challenges faced by the Tech Project
The artist will be provided with all the current KC technology and will be guided through the understanding of its functioning and potential uses, including all the sensors and the software used in the first test of Kreyon City and all the materials used for its physical installation. The use of other kinds of technologies (augmented reality, other kind of sensors, new materials) is more than welcome. We are willing to discuss major changes in the game aesthetics, functioning or game mechanics. The greatest challenge of our collaboration with the artist will be to harmonize his/her view of the installation with our scientific perspective.
Brief description of technology
KREYON City is conceived as an interactive installation that bridges the gap between physical and digital representations. The first prototype of KC (https://goo.gl/RE1B7Q) is a playful and immersive experience, realized with LEGO bricks, aiming at engaging children and adults in collectively conceiving sustainable solutions for an ideal city. A system of augmented reality (camera, sensors, intuitive graphic interfaces) provides them a real-time feedback about the sustainability of the thriving city from different points of view - population, richness, job market, ecological footprint, etc. - steering in this way the building experience. Players need to find the right balance among the conflicting and complex city needs. For instance more houses will call for more services. More services will cause in turn more expenses for the community, lowering its wealth. Already this simple instantiation features the whole complex interplay of causes and effects, revealing the underlying complexity of urban challenges. While initially being developed in a multi-modal form with a physical interactive and electronic visual overlay, KC is also planned to be instantiated in entirely virtual form as a multiplayer sustainability game about real cities and real data.
What the project is looking to gain from the collaboration and what kind of artist would be suitable
The current objectives of the KC project include: • The design and realization of novel and engaging game scenarios. Among the many complex problems that society is facing nowadays, the problem of urbanization is one of the most familiar and interesting, capable of attracting the interest of the vast public. Such problem is also multifaceted, so that the experience could be redesigned in order to include aspects that have been neglected until now, e.g. the problem of the availability of energy or natural resources for the functioning of the city and the issues related to mobility. However, KC will also abstract from urbanization in order to comprehend other complex and scientifically intriguing scenarios, like the balancing of ecosystems, migration flows and cultural development. All these possibilities require great efforts, both from the scientific point of view in the creation of realistic mathematical models the final users will be able to interact with, and in the design of fashionable, simple and fun interactions with the installation. An efficient interaction between the “hard-science” and the artistic and design development perspectives will be mandatory in order to realize a platform capable of communicating scientific ideas in a satisfactory and playful way. • New user interactions and new design. The current version of KC relies on very simple interactions to be performed by the users and simple monitor feedback interfaces providing information about the results of the game. Moreover, the experience is hard to be transported in museums and other locations, requiring the right spaces to be built and made operational. The project will move towards the implementation of new ways of interaction, paralleled by design of a proper user-experience using captivating graphics, musics and animations. At the same time, KC will become a stand-alone object, that can be easily transported and adapted to the necessities of different locations. • Multi-player on-line game. The KC installation aims at collecting large amount of data about the ways in which humans solve complex problems and deal with complexity in general. In order to ease the data gathering process, KC will move from the physical to the virtual world so to increase its potential users. The design as KC as an on-line multi-player sustainability game built upon real data and scientific models is still in its embryonic stages but has an immense potential: building a large on-line community of players will allow the activity to be kept alive for a long time fostering for the discovery of innovative solutions to the complex problems of nowadays society. The Kreyon City project presents different opportunities for various kind of artists. A designer could join the reinvention of the concept and the redefinition of the planning of the interaction so that the building experience would be more entertaining and instructive for participants. An architect could reimagine the city design process at the core of the experience. Also, the project storytelling presents several opportunity of improvement. Since one of the aim of the project is that of creating a learning and awareness experience, a specific way to engage people could result in a larger participation and a better comprehension of the underlying challenges. Finally, since the project already involves virtual interfaces and foresees a completely virtual version, game-designer and web-designer could find several opportunities to share their expertise while conceiving the experience and giving physical and technical substance to it.
Resources available to the artist
Sony CSL Paris will host the artist in its premises in Paris and will grant access to the ensemble of research and computational facilities. A space will be made available with a computer and an internet connection. In addition the artist will have access to the atelier of SONY-CSL (hosted in the same premises) where physical installations can be built. During the residence the artist will be in continuous connection with all the researchers of the KREYON City project as well as all members of SONY-CSL Paris. Budget for travel and equipment will be foreseen.