Alessandra Villaamil
Amelia Hancock
Sarah Hallacher

Lip Synch: A New Media Kissing Booth

Lip Synch: A New Media Kissing Booth is an experience in which the user is able to control a video of two people kissing with his/her tongue by sucking on a lollipop: blurring the lines between voyeurism and participation.

Introduction to Computational Media,Introduction to Physical Computing

A search on YouTube for ‘kissing scene’ returns over 200,000 results, hundreds of which are user-created compilations that celebrate romantic scenes from their favorite movies and TV shows.
So what’s the intrigue?

Is the connection we form with the characters responsible? Is it intimacy and sexual expression that drives us to watch? Does the line between viewer and screen create safety for sexual expression? Would participation and control positively affect our experience?

Our team was most interested in new media’s ability to tell a story in a number of different forms. It’s particularly fascinating how our brains follow these stories and end up identifying with the characters that are presented. As screens get bigger, and media is much more enthralling, compelling, and real, is the viewer really watching two other people kiss -- acting as a voyeur, or do our brains actually think it’s us -- making us participants?

This discussion led us to the concept of Lip Synch: A New Media Kissing Booth, which enables the user to control a video of two people kissing with her/his tongue by sucking on a lollipop. Unlike the YouTube clips’ presentation of characters within the context of a story, the video is of two strangers, and the viewer is presented with no context other than their visual appearance and interaction. We wish to examine the current construct of media— a hard line between screen and viewer, and begin to blur that line by giving the viewer participatory control of what she/he sees on screen. As the viewer moves their tongue faster over the lollipop, the couple on screen engages in a more passionate embrace, making the viewer not only a voyeur but also a participant.

We anticipate the user experience to conjure topics of empathy, sexual preference and expression, collective storytelling, passive/active media control, voyeurism/participation, anatomy, and physical computing (using a tongue as means of control).