The Light at the End of the Tunnel: An Interactive Installation in Public Space


Session Title:

  • Interactivity, Space and Public Space

Presentation Title:

  • The Light at the End of the Tunnel: An Interactive Installation in Public Space




  • In this paper, I would like to examine  the social function of interactive installations in public space by focusing on a specific multimedia work: ‘The Light at the End of the Tunnel’. In addition to this, I want to analyse the potentials in the collaboration of interaction and public space, and to point out dynamic exchanges between them.

    ‘The Light at the End of the Tunnel’ was a non-commercial multimedia project for the fifth Light Culture festival, LUMINALE 2010, in Frankfurt. During this international festival, artists, designers, architects use the urban space as a canvas for creative illuminations. In this context, the Willy-Brandt-Platz underground station had become a platform to tell a theatrical story with the help of light and interaction.

    The experience of passers-by of the place was guided from the entrance points of the station to the ‘interactive stage’. Through the large stairway at the B-level of the station, the passengers became ‘the spectators’ of a digital theater play which was staged by other passers-by. Via motion tracking and moving stage lights, each protagonist was pointed as ‘on stage’ and they were able to enter into dialogues with their fellows. They performed their roles only with the body movements and activated the quotes taken from the plays of Schauspiel Frankfurt as sound and text on LED panel. The result was a ‘quote theatre’ that was generated by people’s movements.

    Willy-Brandt-Platz underground station was nothing more than being a functional subterranean transit zone. With the help of digital media, our aim there was to make the passers-by stop for a few minutes during their daily routine and to involve them into a theatrical, public experience. Using this specific example, I want to juxtapose practical and theoretical discourses and focus on the issues such as the levels of ‘publicness’ of a public space, the function of the interactive media in public space and the exchanges between these two realms. In addition to these, my aim in this paper is to highlight the interdisciplinar nature of these fields by introducing the mutual relations between interactive media and public space.

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