Around screen

Frame from Videodrome 1983, David Cronenberg

Frame from Videodrome 1983, David Cronenberg

I don’t own a Tv here in South Africa and I have to say it is a shame. Sometimes I sneak downstairs, where the huge television of my landlord is placed and, silently, I switch it on to watch Storage Wars on History Channel. I like this monumental, frontal electrical appliance and I feel it still has a lot to say. During the years  the television lost its wooden case, its cathode ray tube, became thinner, bigger, clearer, brighter, and it will soon lose the remote. (1) But what is going to happen around the television in the future?

Some technologies are taking the space around it on the wall , others are conquering the sofa in the living room even if just virtually.

IllumiRoom for example is a concept from Microsoft Research. “It augments the area surrounding a television screen with projected visualizations to enhance the traditional living room entertainment experience.” As they describe on the official website . In some way it “contextualizes” and blurs the visual barrier between the on-screen content an the surrounding environment it also takes advantages of our peripheral view limitation and that remembers me of the polemics around the frame in the abstract painting at the beginning of the 20th century and the mural paint technique of Trompe-l’œil. Illusion is what we are talking about. As you can judge yourself watching the clip below, the moving images are trying to extend their domain over and around the screen, like the boy in the famous paint Huyendo de la crítica, 1874, by Pere Borrell del Caso, the images are trying to escape.

Another great example of the future around TV is Playroom for Playstation 4. Sony says The PlayRoom uses DualShock 4 ( the controller) and the PS Camera “to turn the area around you into a technological playground”. In one hand it shows all the features of the new console in a playable and fun way on the other hand its a party game and an “ice breaker” (2). But what interest me the most is this idea of project the interface in the living room even if just as a draft concept: the television became a magic mirror, and your sofa and your floor is part of the interface.

To much effort just for selecting a game? what happen if the light condition are bad?

What do you think?

For now I’m going downstairs to see it there is a Sony’s robot left under the carpet


(1) Primesense, Inon Beracha, CEO of PrimeSense, shows off post-Kinect motion-sensing at the Consumer Electronics Show.

(2) See also Kinect Party from Double Fine

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