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The Common Touch

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Being realized jointly with the Ubiquitous Interaction Group at Helsinki Institute for Information Technology and with Teesside University, as part of the CALLAS project.

The Common Touch — i.e. figuratively, the ability to appeal to ordinary people – is a large interactive wall that is meant to be installed in a street as the window of a shop. Common words of an incomplete sentence are displayed in a conspicuous way on the screen. It appeals to the passer-by, who lightly touches the wall and notices that the touch not only reveals hidden words, but also makes another sentence appear. Seeing this person interacting with the wall, other passers-by stop and begin to touch the new sentences to reveal hidden words. They are soon overwhelmed by slogans and trying to touch them all. To drive the amount and aspect of the slogans, the affective expressions of the group are exploited by the installation like in an advertisement or a charismatic oration. Both the crowd and the installation contest for the control of the display.

As they are compelled to interact by their curiosity, passers-by form a group of engaged people with their hands raised, revealing advertising slogans conveying an idea of demonstration, protest or revolution, e.g. « Be the revolution of you » (Nike and Foot Locker), « Impossible is nothing » (Adidas) or « Think Different » (Apple). The group becomes part of the scene of controlled demonstration that is presented to the passers-by, bringing The Common Touch to its meaning.

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