The Joys of Being a Screensaver



The Joys of Being a Screen Saver is a four channel interactive video installation which elicits nostalgia for obsolete technology. Starting from the absurd premise that a rotary phone can make the connection between the physical space and a person stuck inside your computer, the installation extends and abstracts the phone's function of connecting remote places, by bringing together elements of hardware and software from the past.

The character stuck inside of the four screens is your screen saver software. She reaches out to you via phone, with the explicit intention of establishing contact. However, upon connecting, her behavior becomes increasingly playful and elusive, referencing the types of motion present in old Windows screen savers. You gain control over the character's whereabouts, by calling and having her pick up the phone at different locations—each location on a different screen. She gains control over your whereabouts by having you turn around towards each of the screens—the four displays surround you. You alter her environment by calling her, and if you don’t, she alters your environment by calling you. This strange dialogue offers no resolution, just a back and forth which might make both you and your screen saver dizzy.

Developed in collaboration with Danqi Qian.

Exhibited as part of a group show in 2019 at the NYU ITP Winter Show in Brooklyn, NY.

Built using openFrameworks.