Shy Friend


By John Hwang, Joe Mertz, and Sydney Ayers


For our immersive experience we aimed to reconstruct and simulate an innocent,
playful, and familiar experience from childhood. The setting is reminiscent of a
pillow fort, decorated with pillows, blankets, bed sheets, and other cozy elements to create a comfortable and intimate space; in addition, an indoor swing is hung in the middle. Our audience members, one at a time, would sit and play on the swing, and then encounter and interact with an “imaginary friend” over a friendly game of cat and mouse. The experience hopes to re-capture the light-hearted spirit and raw imagination of childhood.

The technical components of the experience revolved around the interaction of the
audience member and the “imaginary friend”. The “friend” was programmed (in Processing) to react to the movements of the audience member (in particular, where the audience member was facing) in the swing set, either by running away from or chasing them. Movement was determined by using compass data from a
smartphone (passed on wirelessly via the hookOSC application), which was taped
underneath the swing. We used Syphoner to send the processing sketch into Millumin. The “friend” was back-projected onto the bed sheets from
two projectors outside the space.


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