For my final project, I’m interested in creating something that will allow for random people on the internet to control one particular thing in real life. Before I talk specifically about my project idea, I’ll talk a bit about my references.
The Telegarden is an art installation that allows web users to view and interact with a remote garden filled with living plants. Members can plant, water, and monitor the progress of seedlings via the tender movements of an industrial robot arm.
Twitch Plays Pokemon was an experiment that allowed for internet users to collaboratively play a game of Pokemon Red by controlling what happened in the game via chat.
Jennifer Ringley was one of the first “lifecasters,” using a webcam to take a photo of her bedroom every 15 minutes for years. It was a way for anyone on the internet to see what was happening in one person’s daily life.
What I want to do is set up a webcam in my kitchen. I’ll build a webpage, where anyone can go and see what’s currently happening in my kitchen, but they will have to click a button that takes a picture first.
I think this is an interesting idea because it’s a little different from typical “lifecasting” or livestreaming. It’s easy to be voyeuristic on the internet, just by stumbling across anyone’s personal livestream. But because the user has to click a button to capture a photo and see what’s happening, the user is a little more complicit in the voyeurism.
Personally, I’m not interested in being particularly exhibitionistic (in the bedroom style of Jennicam), but I figured getting to look into someone’s kitchen at any point in the day feels somewhat intimate. You can learn a lot by seeing what someone does in the kitchen – seeing how they make their coffee, whether they’re cooking or microwaving leftover takeout, why they’re eating cereal at midnight or drinking at noon.
I’m not 100% sure how I’ll build this out, but I imagine I’ll use a Raspberry Pi or something similar for the webcam and use socket servers to connect to a webpage. We’ll see…!