This project is collaborated with Jae Yoon.
We know in public places, people tend to keep a distance with others and set a social border for themselves. For instance, when there's a 3 seat bench, the first place to be occupied, normally, is always on one end; then if the second person is coming and he/she is a stranger to the first one, he/she probably will take the seat on the other end.
That may be because of the physical reason: we want a bigger space to seat ourselves to feel comfortable; but more important, that's because of the social reason: people want to act normal. Seating next to the stranger if there's still space unoccupied is not being regard as normal act in our society.
But how about if the seat is not occupied by a physical person, but by his shadow which corresponds to and reflects his presence in another place, say one bench is at the subway station of W4, the other at Cannel street ; or even both benches are situated at the two end of one subway station. When I find an empty bench, I seat myself on one spot, while my shadow is reflected on the same position on the other bench; then if you also want to seat yourself over there, will my shadow bother you? Will you avoid seating on my shadow? Will you keep a distance with my shadow which is the tele-presence of me? Will you feel your space is invaded by my shadow or by me if we are on the same seat position in different bench? Or will you ignore it? How my tele-shadow is gonna affect your behavior of sitting on a bench?
Our project is about to do an experiment with people, especially the strangers in public setting.
So technically, the project is setting in this way:
We tried using recorded video, or animation, to create the telepresence at the beginning, but we feel to make the telepresence real is a key, so we turn to use cameras. When using cameras, there's also some challenges: to avoid the shadow which is projected on to the bench, being recorded back into the camera. So we applied a black mask whenever there's a physical person sitting on the seat (and press down the button basically in microcontroller).
final video is going to be uploaded: