Interactive Installation
MIT Media Laboratory
introspect@media.mit.edu

Project members:
Elise Co, Ben Fry, Golan Levin, Casey Reas,
Jared Schiffman, Tom White, John Maeda.

The Introspection Machine is an interactive environment for visual feedback. The machine consists of six modules, each of which has a flexible, manipulable "eye-stalk." At the end of each eye-stalk is a large rubber suction-cup, which permits it to adhere to any of the six displays in the installation. The machine's modules transform the video input from their manipulable eyestalks into supple and organic dynamic displays. By redirecting these eyestalks, users can explore an unbounded space of continuous light, complex forms and surprising relationships.

The Introspection Machine's reconfigurable eye-stalks comprise the principal interface by which participants can interact with the installation. These playful stalks, which pipe pure light and information from computer to computer, make it possible for the video output from one reactive display to be used as the input for another. An Introspection Machine module may even be piped back to itself, creating a tight loop of visual recursion. As visual material from each display is reinterpreted by the others, pools of light are created that shift and mutate based on the connection, configuration and movement of the stalks' suction-cups.

As a display system for fluid colors and forms, the Introspection Machine can be thought of as an interactive light fountain, in which participants liberate the "water" welled into each monitor, by physical conduits of video information. As a complex feedback system, on the other hand, the Introspection Machine has analogies to a wholly visual brain, whose cybernetic intelligence is derived from the principle of feedback itself.