Processing Project – Research

With this project, the piece of Processing has to be interactive in some way with the user. This means that some of the things I have learnt in Processing aren’t that applicable to this task because the functions and coding I have learnt so far are non-interactive. However, some of the functions can be used and changed to be interactive.

Examples of Interactive Installations

There are many different forms of interactivity that can be created through Processing. I researched the different ways a user can interact with a piece of Processing and I will be evaluating the pros and cons of each and how they can be used in the space where I will be showing it.


History has shown that sound plays a pivotal part in human interaction and how humans live. We communicate by sound, engage with sound and have fun with sound. Since the pre-historic ages, sound has been used. Cavemen would use sounds to actually communicate as they had no written language and also, they created music with this. Although, as humans have progressed through time, the use of sound for communication has lessened due to there being written language. The introduction of the radio was a turning point in the history of technology. Created in 1895, the radio was first used to send radio signals, this date is the date of the first radio signal ever sent. However, the first radio created that played sound and as we know of radio was in 1917. This was the first ever music broadcast. Ever since then, radio has played an important role of a humans everyday life. Back before TV, radio was really the only form of media a person could interact with. With the rise of modern technology, sound has become much more than something you hear on the radio.

With advances in digital technologies in the modern age, interactive instalments have become increasingly more popular as a form of entertainment and also, it is some peoples jobs to make interactive instalments. One digital sound installation that uses sound as the main focal point of the installation is “The Cave of Sounds”. A description provided by the people who made the installation says that:

“The Cave of Sounds is a circular arrangement of eight bespoke digital musical instruments. Audience members are invited to experiment with the instruments together, explore the potential of creating music as a means to interact with new people and consider the intertwined history of music and technology.”(The Cave of Sounds, 2014)

The Cave of Sounds is a brilliant example of how sound can be a vocal point in a digital installation. This is because most digital installations focus on video and art. The interaction with sound in this installation doesn’t exactly relate to what I will be creating but, seeing that you can do something with sound is a positive. What I mean by ‘it doesn’t exactly relate’ is that they use objects however with what I will be creating, I will be limited to something that is only on a screen. Looking at this installation has given me some great insight to some of the positive aspects of using sound in my Processing piece, however, I will have to look into what I can actually do in Processing that uses sound as I have not done it yet in any of the workshops.


Video came about around the same time that sound was making an appearance.

“The first commercially successful modern motion picture system was developed by Thomas A. Edison with his laboratory staff, notably his co-inventor William Kennedy Laurie (W. K. L.) Dickson, between 1888 and 1893.”(Kinolorber, 2012)

From this, cinema became commercially available to the public. The Cinema was vastly different to what we know of it today. Films were under a minute long and had no sound. Cinema was such a different experience to what people have experienced before that sound wasn’t an issue back then. The incorporation of sound came in the 1920s. This revolutionised cinema as it brought a whole new different dimension to video motion. Ever since then, technological advances have made these basic technologies like the first motion picture and cinema a much more immersive experience. This is due to the addition of colour in the world of video motion. After this, more development in technology came about making cinema and video motion an immersive experience. This was with the development of HD and more advanced screens to show these videos on. In a journal about Digital Cinema published in 2002, John Belton discusses the change in cinema for audiences,

“For audiences, it began in the realm of special effects-a field that is now dominated by computer-generated imagery. Then there was digital sound. Now we are seeing a very slow movement toward digital production using digital cameras and digital projection.”(John Belton, 2002)

Digital technologies have made a big impact on the video motion realm. In the modern age, people create digital installations, previously mentioned above, that are made for people to interact with and gain an experience whilst using the instalment. Also, a digital installation is normally created to put across a meaning and it normally has a purpose. I talked about sound being used in digital instalments however, video motion is the most popular kind of digital instalment. A popular interactive digital installation is Hermes 8 Ties().

This digital installation showcases the use of video motion as when participants walk across the floor with the writing on, the words are displayed in the shadow of the person on the wall next to the floor. This showcases just how versatile digital environments can be when using video. Although this type of thing won’t work in the space provided for the project I have to do.

Thinking of ideas

Now that I have done my research for this project, the next thing to do is to think of initial ideas for the project. The research has given me solid grounding in terms of thinking of different forms of interactive media and I will be comparing the pros and cons of using sound and using video for my ideas.



The Cave of Sounds.

Hermes 8 Ties.

John Belton, 2002. Vol. 100, Obsolescence (Spring, 2002)