Intimate Transactions
The Transmute Collective
(Keith Armstrong and collaborators)
Brief description of the work:
Interactive installation that allows two people located in separate spaces to interact simultaneously using only their bodies.
Materials, dimensions, duration:
The bodyshelves are embedded with an array of sensors, which detect shifting balances of bodyweight and different types of backpressure. The work uses an eight channel surround sound system which creates an enveloping, submersive atmosphere. As the participant navigates Intimate Transaction both fixed and dynamic sound emitting objects come within their radius of hearing. As the user gets closer to these objects the sound they hear gets louder. The work allows participants to manipulate a group of real time audio devices including speed of playback, pitch, granular synthesis and delay.
Location (venue & dates, public/ private):
Intimate Transactions was awarded an Honorary Mention in the 2005 Prix Ars Electronica Competition and was previously shown at the ICA, London and BIOS, Athens Greece November, 2005.
Audience information (size, mode of participation):
Installation for two people in remote locations, each can see each other's representation on screen. At the end of the session, a live video camera establishes visual contact between the two players. The work is designed to be experienced for up to 20 minutes. Both Bodyshelves should be occupied in order to allow a full experience for all participants.
Other information (reviews, collaborators, funders):
This project has been assisted by the Australasian Centre For Interaction Design (ACID), the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body & the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland. Keith Armstrong was a Postdoctoral New Media Fellow at QUT, Creative Industries Research and Applications Centre, Brisbane between 2003 & 2005. Intimate Transactions was developed with support from the Performance Space Headspace Residency Program.
Floorplan, scheme:
Visual/ audio-visual reference:
participant on bodyshelf
Key theme(s):
Interplay and fusion between participant's physical presence and a perceived reality (projected image); social play; observing one's non-verbal communication; dislocation
Further context:

"This shared experience allows each participant to gradually develop a form of sensory intimacy with the other, despite the fact that they are geographically separated and cannot physically see or hear each other. As this highly immersive experience evolves, each participant begins to sense their part in a complex web of relations that connect them, and everything else within the work. In this way a subtle, indirect form of collaboration develops via an increasing sense of intimacy between sites. Participants may choose to act in different ways as they begin to understand how their actions affect everything within the environment AND the other participant. Hence the work focuses participants upon understanding influences and relationships within the work's ecologies."

left: participant's representation. right: typical visual element encountered in Intimate Transactions.