Day 5: Cleaning up the mess

Today was about documenting and wrapping up loose ends – making our experiments with touch screens into more resolved works that could be presented in contexts beyond the Lab.

With the help of Ben Dalton, Bob Levene and I got the code for the dirty hob piece finished, so that now when you rub the screen the ‘clean’ image is revealed in a more subtle way, not with the blocky pixel effect that seems to work so well on the Scratch Cards.

We made a short film of the piece now titled ‘How clean is your mouse?’ (by Glenn Boulter), which can be viewed here:

How clean is your mouse? from Bob Levene on Vimeo.

I then began to document the Scratch Cards work – setting up a touch screen on a plinth against a white background that could pass as a gallery. I began thinking more about what the Scratch Cards piece might mean in order to contextualise it and present it on my website and in preparation for the talks tomorrow.

I wrote this:

Scratch Cards features a series of six interactive touch screen based applications. Each presents a National Lottery ‘scratch card’ which the viewer can interact with by rubbing the screen to remove the surface and reveal the results.

The six ‘scratch cards’ used for the project were all purchased in Hull during the Digital Media Labs residency – none won a prize. When installed in the gallery, each of the applications will be reset once only at the start of each day.

The scratch card becomes a metaphor for obsolescence – contrasting the ‘hope’, ‘potential’ and ‘entertainment value’ contained in the unused card, with its worthlessness once it is revealed not to be a winner.

As an artwork, Scratch Cards is only ‘interactive’, so long as some of the surface remains for the viewer to remove. Once this has been fully rubbed away, the onscreen card becomes as redundant as its real life counterpart and this expensive piece of touch screen technology no longer performs any function.

Scratch Cards from Ellie Harrison on Vimeo.

Scratch Cards was created using Processing with production assistance from Ben Dalton.

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