Wheel of Life

Glorianna Davenport
Executive Producer,Co-Director, Research Supervisor

Larry Friedlander

Designed and constructed by 20 Students

Most interactive projects are locked into a small computer/video screen which the user explores using a mouse and keyboard. We wanted to create an immersive, text-free experience in which participants move around in a large, interesting, ever-changing space and interact intelligently with human-scale, three-dimensional objects.

Three mystical, mythical sets and scenarios -- Water, Earth, and Air -- were implemented as a theatrical installation, filled with sensors and visual displays both huge and small. Members of the audience participated alternatively as Users and asGuides. The Users moved through and explored the large-scale environmental spaces, while the Guides played sophisticated "games" at computer workstations.

Sensors mapped the Users' positions directly into the Guides' games, and the progress of those games fed clues back directly to the Users, helping them unlock the secrets of the space.

There were some complications with the final environment: the network was not fast enough; information from the sensors was sluggish; and, for a variety of reasons, we did not implement the fourth planned scenario, "Fire."

Davenport G; Friedlander L (1995)
"Interactive Transformational Environments: Wheel of Life."
(Chapter 1, pp. 1-25). Contextual Media: Multimedia and Interpretation. MIT Press. Cambridge, MA.