SEEK: Salford Environment for Expertise and Knowledge

June 2009

Picnic on the Screen

Sermon, P & Gould, C 2009, 'Picnic on the Screen', exhibited at: BBC Big Screen Glastonbury Festival, Glastonbury, UK, from 23/06/2009 to 28/06/2009.


Picnic on the Screen is a public installation developed for the BBC Big Screen at Glastonbury. It combines current interactive Ludic interface work that Charlotte Gould has been developing, with Paul Sermon's long established practice and research into telepresent environments. This work explores the creative potential of the Glastonbury audience as participants or performers that have the capacity to create playful improvised narrative sequences through the ¿Village Screen¿ as a communications portal. The installation consists of two blue picnic blankets in front of the Village Screen. The audience groups sitting on these blankets are captured on camera and brought together through a system of live chorma-keying, and placed on a computer illustrated background, and behind computer animated elements that are triggered and controlled by the audience through a unique motion tracking interface, integrated within the installation system. The two blankets will be placed as far apart as possible not to disclose the location of the two groups and encourage the audience to explore the telepresent communication. When the audience participant discovers their image on screen they immediately enter the telepresent space; watching a live image of themselves, sat on picnic rug next to another person. They soon start to explore the space and understand they are now in complete physical control of a telepresent body that can interact with another person in an illustrated enchanted picnic scene, complete with animated characters that respond to the their movement and actions. ¿Picnic on the Screen¿ is designed for large format public video screens and explores their creative and cultural potential. It offers an opportunity to be involved in the development of innovative ways of engaging with the pubic in a festival context using digital technology. Through the augmentation of the virtual and the real, users can explore alternative telepresent spaces and develop unique playful narrative events. This is a mode of performer interaction that is based on tried and tested telepresent installation techniques developed by the artists since the early 1990s. ¿Picnic on the Screen¿ explores social play and the way fun and enjoyment interact with and enhance new media content and technologies through its design, creative development, everyday uses and discursive articulations. This is an area of research that has had little exploration; the interactions between technological developments and the pleasures described as 'fun', are few and far between.

Publication Details

Exhibited Name
BBC Big Screen Glastonbury Festival

Glastonbury, UK

From 23/06/2009 to 28/06/2009.