space-time association


Karmen Franinovic : Projects

Dance First

Dance First

interactive club system, with Hernando Barragan, David Lu, Tarun Rawat, Interaction Design Institute Ivrea, 2003

Dance first. Think later. It's the natural order. - Samuel Beckett.

Discotheques are intensively immersive spaces. Ones senses are overwhelmed in such places - particularly the sense of hearing; the music is loud and penetrating, making verbal communication difficult. How does the does this social exposure/immersion affect identity? How do we deal with anarchy and order in collective creations/events? Can image be as pervasive as sound? Dance First is a system composed of 'tokens' and 'faces' that explores this questions.

My role in this project: conception and design, user study and context analysis, prototyping and presentation.

Context immersion

We went to the club to gather information which was used in the analysis and to define the design directions. Through a combination of video ethnography and interviews, we recorded the movements, ideas, and the behaviours of dancers at the disco. We defined areas of varying intensity with regard to social immersion and sensorial immersion, and we decided to merge these two experiences into one large interactive system with a set of smaller sub-systems. The most exciting and successful ideas were tested and evaluated.

Token system : faces and numbers

The token interactive club system is designed to reduce the queue at various waiting points in the club and to stimulate user's interaction with people and environment. The token contains the photo of the user, the ID number and the payment amount. The photo is taken when entering in the bar, if one desires to join the interactive club system. The face image is used at Interactive bar to reduce the wait at the bar, by the Interactive jay to create immersive sensorial and social environment on the dance floor and through the Interactive glasses to stimulate social interaction.

Waiting problem

One may spend a long time waiting for a drink, not only because of too many people waiting. Often a bartender is drawn into conversation with a single customer, serves attractive customers first or doesn't note a customer's arrival at the bar. To reduce time spent queuing at the bar, but also to reduce the cognitive load of the bartender and to restore activity on the dance floor, a token system was designed.

Interactive bar

The surface of the bar is an interactive screen which communicates with the individual tokens and the central system. When a token is placed on the bar's surface, the bar will place the costumer in the queue. The costumers face and current number position in the queue will appear inside a circle on the bar. The size of the circle displays the number of people in the queue, and the colour indicates the waiting time. For example, if my circle is very small, but very red, that communicates that I have been waiting for a long time while only few costumers were served. This reduces the risk of being unattended as well as the cognitive load of the bartender who simply needs to attend to the customer with the largest red circle. Also, if I see that I have to wait very long, I may go and dance, because at any time I may look on the mirror above the bar which reflects the bar's surface.

IJ: Sensorial and Social immersion

In addition to the DJ, Video jockeys (VJ) have become an important key for sucessful clubbing nights. Often the projections they create are unrelated to the context, and rather abstract. In the interactive club system we proposed to use the archived images of faces as the material for the visual projection design in the club. Interactive projections make it possible to play with faces on the dance floor while dancing. The VJ becomes the Interactive Jockey, as his role is to creates and perform software which may use the image of the people. This video system may stimulate the identity play and unify the sensorial and the social immersion on the dance floor.

A software prototype was created in the Processing language.

Augmenting Social interaction

Interactive glasses permit to choose the face of whomever you like and to enjoy his or her face together with your drink. One may select the face from the archive of the images at the bar and display it on the bottom of the glass. The face is visible from both sides of the bottom, so both the drinker and the drinked can see it.

additional links

Check out Dance First on collaborator David Lu's website

The project presentation for the Strategic Design class
is on the CD and
may be
viewed in PDF format.