As technology becomes increasingly prevalent it is dramatically altering the way we experience space. It is automating our wayfinding and minimizing our need to notice detail in our physical surroundings. As designers of the physical environment we find this both dismaying and see its potential. What if instead of technology reducing our human interaction with the physical environment it is harnessed to provide a new lens of understanding? This is what visuaLatency explores—using technology to provide a sublime view of world and its potential to interact with people and place.
As designers of the physical environment, we are obsessively interested in the interaction of human occupation and space. This interaction is the basis for architecture and both drives and derives interaction and emotion--it is through solely this interaction that meaning of the space is created in its users. Thus, it is this interaction--or more directly, the exposition of this interaction--that visuaLatency presents.
Inspired by Neil Spiller’s visualization of information relationships, our system captures and records spatial usage over time, compiles it and visualizes it for the users of the physical environment in real time. visuaLatency is a lens—built on the open-source program Processing and projected into physical space—to see the past hour of spatial use instantly. From this visualization, one can begin to interpret space use patterns and their own relationship to the space—even begin to hypothesize towards the origins of various emergent patterns.
visuaLatency is an exploration into the potential of spatially oriented technological interventions. It is focused on providing spatial usage patterns and understanding to the occupants of a space but can be further envisioned as tool for spatial analysis and impetus for informed design. Built on an open-source platform, visuaLatency embodies a spirit and time where our experience of space becomes increasingly and intentionally informed—not degraded—by technology, and where our spaces become increasing formed by this technologically aided understanding.
This project was done in collaboration with Jeffrey Maas. It was exhibited from March to June 2011 at the University of Oregon, Portland Library and Learning Commons in Portland, Oregon.