Infusing Art with Technology

Counting memories is a interactive installation by Chiharu Shiota. According to an article by Colossal, Shiota explains in a statement of the exhibition:

Each number defines us individually but also connects us universally. Numbers comfort us, we share dates that are important to us, and they help us understand ourselves. Our history is collected through numbers. In this way, the intertwined string reflects our history, while the numbers, which are scattered sporadically like the stars above Katowitz, represent the most meaningful dates we know.

I think a key purpose of the piece is that Shiota hopes that his work can allow the viewers to reflect on number and dates. Colossal further describes the interaction of the exhibition:

The spacing of the desks provides natural archways for visitors to pass under as they wander through the installation. At each of the nine desks, stacks of paper and pencils are available for viewers to respond to prompts such as “Which number has meaning to you and why?”, “Do numbers tell the truth?”, and  “How many memories do you have?” In a statement on the exhibition, Shiota explains:

From the interaction of prompting viewers to respond to prompts, I started to think about how the interaction can be augmented by adding means and materials of soft technologies.

What if the viewers respond on the paper can be somehow reflected in the exhibit, but still mostly maintains the overall structure and form of the exhibit for viewers who are not actively interacting with the work?

One technology that came to my mind is lighting up these black yarn. I like the texture of the yarn and believe that they can’t be simply replaced by plastics or metals. A technology I found wes Yarn-based organic light-emitting devices (YOLEDs). With such YOLEDs, we have have these seemingly ‘normal’ yarn to be able to emit light depending on the viewer’s response. For example, after a user writes down a date, some number recognition program can identify the numbers written, and then light up the yarns that pass through the certain numbers.

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