Audience Participation

A paper just published in IJHCS by Stevens et al (link to abstract) describes how members of the audience use a PDA to register their emotional responses in real-time during a number of dance performances.    It’s an interesting approach to studying how emotional responses may converge and diverge during particular sections of a performance.  The PDA displays a two-dimensional space with valence and activation representing emotion (i.e. Russell’s circumplex model).  The participants were required to indicate their position within this space with a stylus at rate of two readings per second!

That sounds like a lot of work, so how about a physiological computing version where valence and activation are operationalised with real-time psychophysiology, e.g. a corrugator/zygomaticus reading for valence and blood pressure/GSR/heart rate for activation.  Provided that the person remained fairly stationary, it could deliver the same kind of data with a higher level of fidelity and without the onerous requirement to do self-reports.

This system concept could really take off if you had 100s of audience members wired up for a theatre performance and live feedback of the ‘hive’ emotion represented on stage.  This could be a backdrop projection or colour/intensity of stage lighting working as an en-masse biofeedback system.  A clever installation could allow the performers to interact with the emotional representation of the audience – to check out the audience response or coerce certain responses.

Or perhaps this has already been done somewhere and I missed it.

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  1. Pingback: Physiological Computing : An evening with Stelarc

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