Ruthie Doyle


A project which creates a space for people to share and communicate with one another: engaging the viewer using mediated intimacy, calling upon nostalgia and vulnerability through a "grown-up" mimicry of the language (and pleasure) of "throw-away" coin-operated entertainment.

Introduction to Computational Media,Introduction to Physical Computing (Tue)

A stand of 3 coin-operated gumball machines acts as interface for the viewer. The audience is called to make a normally incidental, "sidelines" object the focus. This "throw-away" entertainment in fact holds some vulnerable information, though the entire "keys" to the interaction fit in your palm.

The first machine, acting as the "control" in this experiment, holds candy; reminding that this is in fact "normally-functioning" gumball machine (and of course candy holds its own pleasure potential!).

The second holds tiny 1""crystal ball" capsules, containing secrets collected. A very few of the capsules also contain mini sd cards or a url with a password to view special content. The capsules cannot be opened and must be destroyed if one wants access the contents.

The third trigger video when a coin is inserted. The videos, projected onto velum inside the machine, are of people dancing in their home spaces.

There is a long tradition of traveling peepboxes, which people would pay a very small fee to see.

youtube references:

teenagers up (people able to handle the more "grown up" secrets)

User Scenario
Allows for a variety of experiences by a range of people, with a continuum of interactivity possible. The audience "activates" each piece. There is a conceptual framework, but it just is what it is, too: it's simple and it works. People can take pleasure based on their own personal/cultural identifications. Some people might just want to eat the candy, and that works, too.

I also like that the viewer must sacrifice (e.g. $.25, a value we were aware of as small children, when begging for a quarter for the automated ride at the grocery store) and/or in general participate in order to really "view" the piece. As such, the piece can take on different levels correlating to particiaption. One can choose to eat, view, use, break, do, and/or share (but all starts with 25 cents).

The video is triggered by feeding a tiny flag, connected to the turning coin mechanism gear, through an ir photo interrupt sensor. The sensor is serially connected to a laptop via arduino, which triggers the video through custom software created using Processing.

Secrets can be entered at: www.tinyurl.com/secretsAreSoFun

sample videos in the middle "video" machine: