To capture the unique conection an interactive art instillation has with visitors and recreate that feeling on the web doesn't seem like a "quick weekend project." Yet at the annual Lehigh Valley Hackathon, that's exactly what my team of four set out to accomplish. By the time the three day event came to a close and EmptyRoom was complete, we not only ended up with a working virtual space that surrounds the viewer with art that moves only when looked at, but also the first prize in the Hackathon.
EmptyRoom began just like any other project at a hackathon: a pitch to everyone in attendance on the basics of my idea in hopes of attracting enough interest to form a team. During my pitch, I spoke about my admiration for contemporary interactive installations (such as Rafael Lozano-Hemmer's Tape Recorders and Random International's Rain Room) the connection each piece creates with visitors simply by responding to their movement and presence. These simple responses are a delight to witness and these installations are immensely popular. I couldn't help but wonder if it was possible to recreate that same connection using virtual reality technology on the web, so it might able to be experienced by anyone, anywhere. In a sense, I wanted to build my own interactive artwork: digital interactions "installed" within the internet.