"Flights of Fantasy" is an interactive research and installation project which focuses on the acts of receiving and sending video messages. Developed under the direction of Glorianna Davenport, Director of the Interactive Cinema Group, the two room installation reflects ideas and skills of the team of collaborating researchers and storytellers of the MIT Media Laboratory.

The installation presents story fragments which the visitor at one time co-constructs using a playful physical interface, and at another time receives by opening a door in a forest of birdcages. Inspired by an analogy of the carrier pigeon to electronic networks, the installation invites the public, as they move between two rooms, to reflect on an essential attribute of communication, that is that one can never be both the prime creator/sender and a prime receiver of the same message or story. The act of creation is a process of getting to know, while the act of receiving provides the a gateway to surprize
The construction interface, which resembles a child's pocket puzzle, is made up of sliding blocks each containing a story-related icon, as well as start and end markers. By sliding the blocks and interting markers, the visitor collaborates with the machine to form short story fragments about characters and places known to the system. Released, these stories fly through the network and onto the monitors in the open cages found in the adjacent room. Soon they will also be passed along to a world wide web, where a distributed community will be able to construct or experience a set of these fragments.
This installation contradicts the passive-receptive reverie traditionally associated with the cinematic experience. Moving through the space in the De Cordova Museum or playing on the virtual site, the visitor is confronted with a subtle call to action. Without action, there is no story created and no story received.
Glorianna Davenport
Principal Research Associate
MIT Media Lab

Direction: Glorianna Davenport, Principal Research Associate, MIT Media Lab
Story Design: Barbara Barry, Aisling Kelliher, Francisco DeLaTore
Bird Cages: Paul Nemirovsky, Win Burleson, Arnan Sipitakiat
Interface design and implementation: James Jung-Hoon Seo and Ali Mazalek
: Joe Meiring with Eduardo McLean, David Crow, Isaac Rosmarin, Lin Wu
Programmable Lighting design: Nyssim Lefford
Project Management: Joe Meiring, Tony Pulsone
Location/Talent: Kew Garden :: Ann Dixon
: Beach :: David Crow, Ben Piper, Meghan Flaherty
: New York City :: Chelsea Peretti, Felicity Aulino
Voice: Maureen Thomas, Barbara Barry, Nyssim Lefford
Special Thanks: MIT Media Lab, ColorKinetics Inc, LiveStock Inc., Peter Walser's freeware 3D engine
Flights of Fantasy exhibition: organized by George Fifield, Curator Media Arts
: Jennifer Uhrhane, Curatorial Fellow and Bradley Gonyer, Art Preparator engine