Ludic Loops, Joanne Chiang (2021)
Installed at UNSW Galleries 7 Dec - 22 Dec 2021
Ludic Loops is a collection of experiments that reflect Joanne's neo-materialist exploration into our (humans) relationship with digital technology in a post-digital era. It responds to the chaotic, complex and messy influences that shape our perceptions and actions.
As part of Joanne's B. Design (Hons.) research, the installation intends to satisfy the craving for the digital, otherworldly landscapes that humans may come to expect after prolonged exposure to not only the digital landscape itself, but the rhetoric within corporate agendas and media narratives. Consequently, encouraging discussions surrounding the roles and ethics of technologies that are embedded within urban environments.
Digital processes have been known to manipulate human senses and behaviours. Cultural anthropologist, Natasha Dow Schüll studied the design considerations within casinos and affirmed that human perceptual systems are sensitive to visual stimuli.
Schüll also coined the term, ‘Ludic Loops’ to describe the engagement of participants through randomised reward systems, design aesthetics, and game theory. Where the reward is the cost itself, a sense of toxicity, compulsion, and addiction are embedded within digital platforms that have monetary incentives for capturing the attention of users due to the business model.
The intrigue generated by the interactive lighting within the installation alludes to the notion of ‘Ludic Loops’ through an almost, randomised reward system where concealed sensors only work at certain angles. This imbues the experience with a sense of play as participants explore ideal spots to stand to trigger the change of lighting.
A modern interpretation of ‘Utopia’ realises in the pursuit of ‘smart cities’ where the omnipresence of ICT within urban environments keep a city hyper-connected. However, when the technologies in our environments are presented through market players, it has been argued that the underpinning principles of 'smart cities' are one of business strategy and market domination.
Dystopian environments within media narratives align with corporate narratives of ‘smart cities’ in presenting scenarios where urban crises are addressed with technological developments. Alluding to the use of IoT technologies within ‘smart cities’, the reactive lighting uses Arduino microcomputers, ultrasonic sensors, and LED lighting. The electronic components represent humans’ obsession with the digital where sensors are omnipresent within urban environments. Simultaneously, this work explores the dichotomy of Utopias and Dystopias through its materiality and visual signifiers.
SOFTWARES & SKILLS :
- Fabric Manipulation
In the context of 2021, all materials were sourced from local hardware shops and online shopping during a time where access to professional processes were limited.