Friday, March 9

Farewell to the crew!

This is the last official day of the Inside a Live Reptile Tent project!

In the morning we had to take down the set and props that remained from yesterday, let the space neat and clean...

But the big thing today was the feedback session with the students and teachers, where everybody had a chance to share their view on how the whole process went. This is a healthy practise here at the Media Lab, and people are honest about it too.

The general feeling among all was that the three performances went really well and everybody was proud of the show they managed to build, but that along “the making” process there was a lot of unnecessary delays, mainly because communication between all parties involved didn’t work very well. Maybe we would have needed some more teambuilding activities, especially because most people who were involved had never worked with each other before and this was a particularly intensive course.

Also we discussed about the feedback we got from the audience, which was mostly positive, as well as some accessibility issues we noticed could have been handled more carefully, such as having ramps instead of stairs and calibrating the picture cameras also for darker skin tones.

The learning process and outcomes were mentioned as well. People were enthusiastic about the alternative means of conveying a narrative using interactive technologies and although some felt the technological approach could have been more tutored some other enjoyed the opportunity to deepen knowledge by themselves. Students also learned a lot from each other as they worked in teams, and from working with field professionals.

Discussion went on for about one hour and later the written feedback will be collected so that future courses can be improved.

In the evening everybody was invited to an afterparty with a chance to chill out and enjoy some snacks in a friendly atmosphere. Thanks all for the great effort to build this MeMento Mori!

Thursday, March 8

... And the grand Finale

The second and third shows happened today.

The last one was the best, in my opinion, I think we had got the hang of it by then. It was the one that had less people, around 30, which made the flow quite smooth. Also we could manage to give out the instructions both in English and Finnish – in the previous shows we mostly spoke in English. All in all, we had a total of 122 people visiting the 3 show performances.

We were so tired after both presentations but we still managed to clean up a lot of things. Something that took more than two months to build and now it will be wiped out in just one day! The space has to be empty by tomorrow. Luckily we will have some video footage of the shows since it is promised that a DVD will be made of the live performances and even includes some of the “making of”. I’m looking forward to that!

Wednesday, March 7

The premiere!

Last minute adjustments, last minute stress… Elina came again to taught us some body movements to lower the stress and relax before going on stage. We were pretty nervous so we really needed to!

People were very curious about MeMento Mori and this first round was a bit crowded, over 40 people came to the show. Most people were from UIAH, but also some unexpected guests from outside the university showed up.

I was the "host" at the fireman's Miniroom guiding people around and Tommi was on the floor inside the fireman's suit (we decided that it would look more realistic). It was really funny because people didn't know that and they got really scared when they realized a real person was there. Some tried to poke him - poor Tommi!

In the end of the first show it felt great, a big relief that all went well (and the best for me, nobody got hurt!). Of course we noticed we need to make some adjustments to improve the flow along the different areas, and some installations need minor corrections for better performance. But as we spoke to people in the audience later, everybody seemed to have had a good time and the winner was surprisingly the rope pulling contest – something totally unexpected for the audience!

Also the talking duck back at the Foyer before leaving the place got a lot of positive feedback, people didn’t mind queuing for a long time just to listen to it giving them a personal comment (also printed) and speaking out their name…

Tuesday, March 6

One day to go

The rhythm is frenetic, tomorrow is the big day! Tommi finally got the light sensors to work and we are now able to complete the Miniroom with all the props correctly wired to a hidden computer and make the Comic strips appear as people flash their lights on them.

Everybody else is at least as busy and stressed. The Main Stage got it’s four screens set only yesterday and Atle has been trying his sound installation with the real setup. The Foyer looks like it will be ready on time as well, Chris and Anna-Maija are working around the clock. The rope pulling event is a bit behind schedule, but Teijo is giving his best shot.

I’ve been disappointed though with the accessibility and security issues since today we heard that it will be impossible to build the ramps and the only thing securing people from accidentally falling in the pit (the Main Stage) will be a rope stretched around it. In our artistic concern we have overlooked these issues, and now we have run out of timeto solve them…

Sunday, March 4

Lousy board, problem stairs...

So we did spend the weekend working on the light interaction… Tommi is learning how to make the Arduino board work, but it’s really difficult, he had to learn it from scratch in the last few days. We made some progress though. I’m still designing more pieces for the Comic.

I had to decide to quit the Swimmer turns to Goddess installation, so I can have time for the others. Maybe I can do something with it later? Well, and I think Teijo also didn't have the time to help me with it anyway.

Also I just realized, maybe a bit too late, that the layout of the stage and different areas will not be accessible to people with restricted mobility, since we have several stairways but no ramp alternatives. Actually the ramps were mentioned at the beginning of the stage design process but somewhere along the way the issue was dropped since we would have to build them, there was none already available. We will talk to the Lume technicians and see what can still be done.

Friday, March 2

The flaming hotel

I had a meeting with Tommi and Anna-Maija about the fireman’s Comic project. We decided that I should take responsibility for the visuals of this Miniroom, since Anna-Maija is having a lot of work with the Foyer alone. That and trying out the interaction with the light detectors along with Tommi will keep me quite busy through the weekend! The show has its premiere already next week… here is a preview of the designs I made tonight for this Comic.

Thursday, March 1


We started the day by setting some furniture on fire. We intend to place it in the fireman’s Miniroom – not just for decoration but also to give that realistic burnt smell…