Meeting with Bill

Meeting with Bill January 3, 2007

Bill and I met around 1pm to talk about my project. As he ate his Papa Joe's salad, I went over some of the ideas that have been in my head recently (see previous posts). Instead of listing all of the comments here, I thought I would try to flesh out the general ideas that were discussed regarding the performance (spectacle not efficiency) of the piece. He and I both agreed that most of the ideas I rambled off were performance driven in that they required a certain amount of involvement from the audience or user. We talked at length about how instead of requiring the server and patron to contribute that it could become a passive performance. There can be two elements at work. Something that is immediately gratifying or quick and something that lasts or is long-term. This can be any number of things of course but if there is something that the server and patron can be a participant in immediately (I use participate loosely here) but also serve as a framework or backdrop for an on going experience. This would allow someone who is interested in the ideas presented to him or her at that moment might be different each time they interact with the cart.

We also discussed what might be an important event to explore is the notion of what gets consumed and how it is consumed. Many of the ideas that I have written down thus far reflect on the idea of consumption. For example, what is served, what is used and what is thrown away - food, spirits, water, tea, etc to bottle caps, wine corks, bottles, napkins, toothpicks, glasses, etc. How can these acts influence the design process?

One idea that I had not considered was using image or video as a vehicle for documenting use of the cart. Bill said that it might be interesting if one event overlapped another event. To give you an example, we talked about capturing an image of a patron as they ordered a drink. This image could be taken covertly so that the patron is not aware they are being filmed or photographed. The image can then be stored with all of the other images taken during that event. The next time the cart is deployed, the images stored are displayed in some manner. After these ideas were brought up, all Bill and I discussed for the rest of the meeting were how they might taken and then displayed. They could be displayed horizontally on the bar surface, projected onto a screen or other surface like a wall or ceiling, on the side of the cart, floor, etc etc. What I liked most about this idea was the fact that the images overlapped each event so that people at one event are getting to see images of an event that has already happened. I also feel, but am trying to grasp the words, the act of storing this information and displaying it follows my original intentions of exploring the notion of storage and ritual of use.

Some questions and comments that have come to mind since my meeting:

A profile shot would be the easiest way of capturing someones photo covertly, otherwise the server might be in the way.

How does movement trigger the capturing of an image or video?

Is it image or video and why?

I would need a program written to capture the images, name them and then be able to organize and display them.

The capture station could be a one way mirror similar to one I saw at an installation in the Stray Show, Chicago a couple of years ago.

How are the images/video displayed?

More later....

If the beverages were served in some kind of disposable container, what if an image of the patron was captured as a label as they placed the order and then instantly printed using some kind of small, fast printer and then adhered to the (bottle, can, etc). this creates a new kind of personal relationship between the person and the object. it perhaps becomes a souvenir.

It also might make the act of disposal less automatic. (though ultimately, trash is trash?).

what if bar napkins were imaged instead as the person ordered a drink?

it's sounds cheesy (i'm thinking "niagra falls" level) but what if it could also be set up to print additional info, such as relevant to the present event.

what if instead of getting an image of you, you got an image of the last person to order that same beverage? this would require the capture mechanism to be "smart" enough to hold this info, and would require the server to be engaged at least enough to press the right button, or something of the like.

alternately, what if the image changed somehow depending on what the person ordered?
Andrew, Thank you very much for the comments. I love the idea of imaging the container and the act of throwing it away becoming 'less automatic'. I also like the idea of printing the people who are drinking the same drink on the container. It reminds me of those party games where people have to mingle around the room finding things in common with total strangers. It could be an amazing social experiment. Bill and I talked about possibly using images on something that the patrons take away from the event. I just wonder how the printer could be maintained over long periods of time and who and how ink would be replaced. I could see small "chores" like this as being a big a pain in the ass. But who knows, I'll definately look into it! Thanks!

I hear the cupcakes are selling like hotcakes!
I'm sure this is something you've thought about, but does the photographic aspect somehow relate the role of the individual to the crowd/activity they're participating in (i.e. a room panoramic with them at the center of it)?
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