Controlled, Interactive Installation, 2005

The goal of this project is to make the users and viewers of the work grasp what little control they have over the media. I have tried to accomplish this through the use of interactive technologies. The first instance in which control appears is the very activation of the work by users. Each user must select a remote that controls a remote control car. If the user does not select a remote, the piece is not activated. On top of the remote control cars are caricatures of the five major media outlets according to my vision of what their icons represent. Some may be a direct representation (i.e., red CNN letters for CNN) and others may be more loosely interpreted (i.e., a green X for Fox). The five major media outlets I have decided to use for Controlled are Fox, CBS (Viacom), CNN, ABC, and NBC.

The space in which the cars interact is a caricature of a remote control. Instead of a remote control controlling which media we see or play, the icons of the major networks are controlling the remote control and thus the video or television we see. Another image of a remote control is projected onto a screen. It is here that we see the real representation of the media outlets’ icons. Their corresponding movements onscreen relate to the movements of the cars on the remote that is on the ground. The caricatures of the media outlets move in correspondence with the real media icons on the screen. When the real icon that is on the screen interacts with the remote onscreen and is within a certain colored area or button on the screen, footage of that media outlet plays. The user of the piece is able to watch that footage while also still being able to control and see the icon’s movement through the virtual remote control that is being projected. I want the viewers to come away with the idea that the same content is provided by all the media outlets and that the control over what they show is limited by the content. I also want to make the experience fun for the users while at the same time educating him or her all the while, watching television.