In this sensor-linked interactive video, a character on a small screen pleads with and taunts visitors as they move through the surrounding space. The proximity sensor triggers the character to give one of fourteen canned monologues depending on whether people are moving closer or farther away from the screen. When the room is empty, the character calls out “is anyone there?” When visitors enter, the character urges them to come closer, yet when visitors approach, the character becomes upset and tells them to back away. He apologizes and begs them to return. This cycle and its various permutations continue indefinitely.
The interaction aims to amuse and frustrate, recreating communication disconnects that occur in real life and when technology replaces human interaction. The character is never satisfied; he is needy and lonely if the viewer is far away, defensive and claustrophobic if the viewer is too close. Yet despite his strong emotions, the character is clearly not a “real person.” The repetition, jumpy editing cuts and Max Headroom-like aesthetic—the character wears a suit and a bald cap in front of a green screen—emphasize the artificiality of the preprogrammed responses and point to everyday corollaries such as phone trees and GPS devices. As technology becomes more sophisticated, it becomes more humanlike. This irony/dichotomy is the content and form of this project.