The Public was an Interactive Gallery complex in West Bromwich, designed by architect Will Alsop, and with a remit to use the latest interactive technologies to engage visitors. The space was to be filled with an ever-changing display of exhibits created by artists working with new technology. Linking the exhibits together was a sophisticated ‘backbone’ that used RFID technology to record and collect artefacts generated by the activities of each visitor on their journey through the gallery.

I was responsible for a number of major software interfaces connected to the backbone via UDP sockets including visitor way-finding, interpretation, profiling and editing tools.

As the visitor entered the space they were provided with an RFID tag. They took the tag to the first station where my software allowed them to log in and record some personal details about themselves (height, eye colour, gender etc). The visitor would then check-in with the artworks in the gallery using their RFID card, the artwork could use the recorded data to personalise their experience and interactions and produce new data (voice recordings, video, drawings) that would be added to their profile on the backbone.

At the end of the experience, having made their way from the top to the bottom of the building on a spiralling walkway, the visitor would edit and manipulate their collected assets before printing onto a wide range of merchandise available in the gallery shop.

Sadly The Public closed on November 23, 2013, but as part of the campaign to keep it open this lovely little community-made video was produced.

A few images of the space: