Everyday Windows

By mixing physical computing and a set of VR experiences, Everyday Windows invites the user to reflect on the sociopolitical aspects of everyday sexism.


everyday windows from Nicolas Escarpentier on Vimeo.


Final project for Physical Computing & ICM - ITP Fall 2017, made by Ilana Bonder & Nicolas Escarpentier

GitHub repository


Concept

Sexism, harassment, abuse… They all have been historically regarded as personal issues, relegating them from the public discussion, and diverting attention of their status as sociopolitical systemic problems. We want to show what happens behind the doors -or windows, in this case-, what women (mostly cis-het, middle class) go through and how society as a whole contributes to the expansion of these issues.

One of the main inspirations for this collage-based project was Anne Laure Maison’s work Tableaux d’intimités, which transmits very clearly the sense of intimacy. We wanted to replicate this feeling in order to convey the sense of a problem that has been shunned from the public discussion.


Everyday Windows controller
Everyday Windows finished controller

Behind the windows

This project was created in three.js and rendered with the help of the WebVR API, with an accessibility purpose. By making this project browser-based, people are able to use it on their phones with a Google Cardboard without having to install any additional software. It’s mounted on a node.js server connected via WebSockets to an Arduino MKR1000, which powers the physical controller.

Bellow, you can look at some example scenes of what goes on behind the windows. Each VR scene addresses a different aspect of sexism by surrounding the user with a collage of images on the subject. It serves as a metaphor of the pervasive nature of oppression, as it has been deeply rooted in our cultures for millenia.


Room 1: Examples of gender roles assigned to us at birth


Room 2: Examples of how sexism permeates our language


Room 5: Examples of workplace harassment and other imbalances of power

Fabrication

The house was built with black cardboard and a wooden frame skeleton. We designed and laser cut the windows and silhouettes that go behind them, placing matte paper between them to generate the shadow projections. Each individual room was illuminated by a NeoPixel in a specific color, matching the corresponding VR scene. Finally, we installed buttons with pulsating LED rings, prompting the user to interact with the project.


Prototype
First working prototype, cardboard only build


Neopixels and shadows
Multiple NeoPixels and shadow projection test


Definitive interface skeleton
Definitive interface skeleton


Inside look: cable setup


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