The Abstract Machine, Douglas Edric Stanley

Multiuser technologies have been available for some time. And yet suprisingly so little use is made of it in the world of experimental interactive design outside of the occasional chat room, such as the ironic DB-DB Our Design Playground, or light doodling spaces such as Vectorama. Yugop has also explored this technology, and his latest work, CamCamTime shows some of the possibilities of this medium. On the negative side, we would do well to look at Society built for Villette Numérique, a seductive multiuser project on many fronts, but whose multiuser system in practice doesn't really affect the stucture of the interactions themselves. This workshop will critique this growing medium, and then work with the ARI interactivity research group on projects in this field.

Previous workshops (Villa Arson Nice, Aix-en-Provence, Marseille, Avignon, etc) have explored the relationship between robotics and networks in a multiuser context. For this workshop, we will focus on the zero degree of multuser interactions. We will ask the question: what does it mean to “touch” collectively?

The workshop will use APIs I have developped over the past year, based on highly modular code designed to build quick prototypes that interact with a multiuser server. These APIs not only allow for real-time communication (“I see you”), but also allow for collective recordings. People can leave a trace. At the Atelier Hypermedia we have already developped an example of this principle via Ragnar Olafsson's www.webwaste.net. During the workshop we will also explore more subtle, less illustrative uses of this technology.

One interesting possibility, is the capture of the real in collective space, such as video, sound, or even interactive gesture.