The Life of an Overtaxed Surface

Vitus Schuhwerk & Till Maria Jürgens

@><#!!! - The Life of an Overtaxed Surface

“@><#!!!" is a surface of an arbitrary machine communicating on an emotional level with the humans. It tries to make internal processes visible by an alteration of its surface structure and to react on interaction. The result is a playful handling, starting with a cautious approach and smooth movements, checking out the possibilities. When the interaction gets more intense, the machine will get overtaxed and show stronger reactions. At the end: total refusal, plays dead, and it needs a break until the next user interacts with it. This machine and its alteration of shape and structure to react on interaction must be as simple and abstract as possible. So we decided to use just a metaphor of a machine, its surface, a two dimensional object. We use a metal coated foil, which crinkle strongly and results in abstract, interesting and inorganic random structures. Simple motion patterns emphasize the abstraction. The final result simulates a living object with feelings, action, and reaction. The users treat it in many different ways and we could observe a broad spectrum of their reactions: cute thing, different kinds of an animal, ugly, frightening, strange, confusing, has to take care of it, and sometimes the question: what does the reaction of the foil say about me, about my interaction with it, about my character and condition? Biography: Vitus Schuhwerk studies at the Köln International School of Design and works as a tutor in the development of a digital learning environment. After one year of broad experience in Bolivia, he worked as a designer at the Rückenwind Group. Till Maria Jürgens works as a research assistant at the Köln International School of Design (KISD). In the early years he worked as a digital media designer at Pixelpark AG Cologne and graduated from the KISD with a BA degree in Interface Design. He spent a semester at the Kyushu University in Japan. In their spare time they make and develop together interactive art focusing the interface among objects, code and human.