FriiSpray – Digital Infra-red Graffiti

Enabling Expression through Technology

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Paint

March 11th, 2010 · No Comments · Education

Paint was a project initiated by Interplay Theatre, it was the continuation of a project they had been working on for some years involving the experimental use of paint and working with disabilities.  They asked us to run some workshop continuing this theme using FriiSpray.  We worked with two schools in Yorkshire with an installation of FriiSpray accompanied with the cellist skills of Simon Mccory.

This project really pushed all aspects of FriiSpray, both the hardware, software and the Jam Jar team as creative practitioners.  Hardware wise we had to develop new input devices such as infra-red pens, some with on/off switches and some that were always switched on.  This enabled students with limited physical ability to be able to paint.  Simon played the cello live to the students painting, this extra sensory addition added depth to the students expression enabling those who were more attune to audio stimulus to paint with this as a creative structure.

As well as using the Friispray software, we also used flash based programs, where a touch on the screen with a infra-red pen or spray can created flourishes of leaves, colours and sounds.  We have always discussed different ways of human computer interaction as part of the Jam Jar Collective, but to see the expression by the students in these workshops, brought a simplicity to the tangible nature of friispray and other infra-red devices as a way of interacting with a computer.

The software at this stage was still in early development, since doing paint and other special education projects with Friispray we have decided to develop a interface specifically for this aspect of expression.  Since doing the paint project we have partnered with Holly Bank Trust to develop all aspects of friispray and other ideas from Jam Jar for work in the area.

As creative practitioners we have all done workshops in the past with disabilities, but the paint project was one of the most challenging yet, each student had very different abilities both mentally and physically, Every student had to be treated differently, sometimes individually but sometimes the group collectively painted or engaged with the process.  We learned a lot from all the people we have worked with and from the students we taught.  One the many  rewarding moments we had was a girl drawing herself with long hair.  She had recently had her head shaved due to an operation and not expressed this to her carers since.  This was one example of where friispray was used as a vehicle for expression from student to the carers.

We are currently developing the paint project in collaboration with Interplay Theatre over 2010.

press clippings to come soon!

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