PIRT at SIGGRAPH LiveBlog Day 5


Tuesday, August 11th – 5:35 pm PDT

Another great day at SIGGRAPH 2015 is coming to a close. This is David signing off, bye for now!


Tuesday, August 11th – 4:25 pm PDT

A report from PIRT research faculty member Angela:

Slow interaction! One thing I notice about visitors to the quilt,  they demonstrate a way of interacting that’s usually hard to facilitate. Rather than going fast and overloading their senses, they move through the interface slowly, as slowly as possible. Nearly all users slow down to what I would call a walking pace, then wander through the quilt in a way that feels very tactile, human. People seem to want a slow experience. They are looking and reading hard. For those who have a more personal connection to the Quilt, memories come back slowly also in continual waves. Learned a lot today, good day.



Tuesday, August 11th – 3:20 pm PDT

A report from research assistant Sean:

Part of our mission with the AIDS Quilt Touch is to create increased visibility and awareness of the AIDS Quilt.  SIGGRAPH 2015 has given us an excellent opportunity to put the mission into practice.  Fairly frequently, people attracted by who-knows-what — the red ribbon, or the really remarkable quilt panels, or just an impulse of ‘what-the-heck-is-this-and-what-is-it-doing-here’ — drift to our booth and request — sometimes timidly, sometimes boldly —  “so… tell me about this?”

Some of our visitors are too young to remember the initial impact of the AIDS crisis, and the exhibit gives us a chance to share and discuss the context in which the Quilt was initially created and the role it has continued to serve.  Others are visitors from afar who, while they are aware of the AIDS crisis, have never heard of the AIDS Quilt.  Some of our visitors, of course, are people who are very aware of the AIDS Quilt and, never having had an opportunity to see it in person, are grateful for an opportunity to be in its presence.  Some, arriving on a lark, search our database out of curiosity (“I wonder if so-and-so is here”) and find themselves revisiting the memory of one who has passed.

It has been really wonderful to meet folks who have never heard of the Quilt, and fill them in on the history & context of the quilt.  Likewise, it feels like an honor to be able to connect people with the names and memories of their loved ones.  In this regard, SIGGRAPH has not only given us a chance to share our really neat suite of apps with the SIGGRAPH community, but also — perhaps just as or more importantly — created new opportunities to spread awareness and fulfill our mission.


Tuesday, August 11th – 12:30 pm PDT

Over the course of the past few days the team is noticing that the 30 Year History of AIDS ChronoZoom presentation doesn’t seem to have the same gravitational pull as the Touch Table Browser. Each are situated on opposite ends of our rather large space. We have many theories as to why our guests don’t seem to be drawn as much to the ChronoZoom presentation presented on our horizontal touch screen, among them is that the interface is not immediately identifiable as a touchscreen. We feel that because in other booths near to ours, a horizontal display usually functions as a video screen showing looped or live video. Our guests, at a first glance, may be perceiving a static video presentation, even though we have a conference sign describing that the horizontal screen is in fact touch receptive. Another theory is that the color template of our presentation may not be as inviting as the aesthetic presentation of the Quilts via the touch table. Here in the booth we’re going to try to tweak the ChronoZoom presentation slightly in order to drive more people towards information given in the presentation.


Tuesday, August 11th – 11:20 am PDT

Pleased to share our first video post by research assistant Sean, a recap of our arrival at the show:


Tuesday, August 11th – 10:45 am PDT

A report from research assistant Leticia:

One of the things that has amazed me the most in this experience is the relation people have with the touch table. When they find a Quilt Block they are looking for, most people want to take pictures of it, sometimes in different angles or zoom levels, even being able to access these images in the AIDSQuiltTouch.org website. I think it is so interesting how powerful the Table is, how it is perceived as the “official” digital medium of the Quilt, as the digital materialization of the Quilt; it IS the Quilt, in some way. If it was perceived just as another way to reproduce the Quilt, perhaps people wouldn’t take pictures of it. It’s “worth” taking pictures of because it is official, it represents a powerful material instance. It is fascinating.


Tuesday, August 11th – 10:10 am PDT

Good morning and welcome back to our LiveBlog coverage from SIGGRAPH 2015! The rest of the conference floor opens today so as we walked through the convention hall towards our booth we’re definitely seeing an even larger spike in attendance compared to yesterday. During today’s coverage I plan to focus a little bit on our ChronoZoom presentation, as well as taking a little bit of time to wander around the entire conference while posting my impressions. Last night during the SIGGRAPH reception we had an opportunity to spend a few moments with Greg Panos where we chatted about ways of propelling the digital avatar into the real world. My experience so far has been completely enriching, if not a little bit emotionally exhausting. I value deeply being able to connect with our guests who want to know more about our project, or to discuss a personal connection with the AIDS Memorial Quilt. We are hearing incredible stories from our guests and there have been a few tears shed in the booth. Leticia and Angela are now with one of our first guests of the morning looking over the AIDS Quilt Touch Table Browser, they’ve just found a Quilt block they were looking for after some time searching for it without any specific identifying information. It feels good to be standing up here and representing this project.