Balancing Tradeoffs in the Design of an Interactive Art Installation on Surveillance and Big Data

  • Simone AshbyEmail author
  • Julian Hanna
  • Katie Ramp
  • Jennifer Baranoff
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9748)


North Circular is an interactive public art installation that invites participants to navigate a fictional urban environment built from data fragments. This paper asks how best to design for ambiguity and critique while balancing aesthetic considerations against complex ideas about big data and surveillance. We describe the results of a cultural probe aimed at understanding user thresholds for minimal specification and ambiguity in design in interactive installations, as well as our efforts to model interactions and design two prototypes. We conclude by presenting five insights and design recommendations for balancing complex themes with minimal specification in the design of interactive installations and displays.


Ambiguity in design Complex themes Mass surveillance Big data Interactive installations James Joyce’s Ulysses 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simone Ashby
    • 1
    Email author
  • Julian Hanna
    • 1
  • Katie Ramp
    • 2
  • Jennifer Baranoff
    • 2
  1. 1.Madeira-ITI, University of MadeiraFunchalPortugal
  2. 2.Human-Computer Interaction Institute, Carnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA

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