Testing TILO at a live exhibition

On Thursday 27th March, FACT launched their new exhibition ‘Science Fiction: New Death’.

Alongside this launch, the TILO project undertook the first public testing of the Awakening intervention, which is a mini-project on the TILO system via which the Lancaster team are examining effects which interactive screens may have on audiences at FACT.

The research team took control of the Awakening system, which gives messages in the ‘voice of FACT’ addressing the public viewing the screen.  The team wrote these messages ‘live’ throughout the day of the launch event, addressing individuals who approached the screen directly, identifying them through their clothing or behavior to give the impression that TILO could ‘sense’ them.

Through observing how the audience interacted with the system we gained many extremely useful insights both into how TILO itself is perceived by visitors to the space, and how the Awakening intervention can be developed and improved

As part of the research focus of TILO, we want to drill deeper into how TILO can change spaces by putting in place a specific intervention and looking at its effects.  We had been planning the Awakening intervention for some time, and given the nature of the exhibition it seemed extremely timely and apt to use the launch, which invited a larger than usual crowd to FACT, as an initial outing for the system and to look at people’s initial reactions.

Undertaking this test during a busy evening of engaged attendees gave us a great opportunity to take initial observations of interaction with the screens.  We gained much important insight which will enable us to refine the intervention and better undertake the research over the coming weeks. The observations made during the launch will be critical in deciding how the subsequent 12 weeks of this intervention will run.

Following reflection on the learnings we gained from the day of observation, it may be decided to change some of the parameters of the intervention – for example it was observed that many visitors did not appear to take in the content of text on the screen, even when ‘looking’ directly at it, and if the text directly addressed them personally.  However people were far more likely to pay attention to the screen if they could see themselves on it.  Therefore we may consider including the TILO ‘silhouette’ function as a background to the Awakening messages to draw the initial attention of viewers.

The next stage of this intervention is to hold a workshop with FACT to fully understand the ‘voice’ with which FACT should speak, and develop the way in which the system will be used to speak to visitors whether this be live or in an intelligently structured system.