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Connectivity_Café

Connectivity_Café is an immersive space that engages human perception, stimulates conversation, and allows for “enchanted” interactions using everyday utensils. Objects and environment are designed to amplify commonplace gestures and behaviors into expressive instruments of improvised playfulness and spontaneous collaboration. The interaction that emerges between participants within this activated space, mediated by seemingly benign objects, emphasizes the dining event as a ceremony performed collectively. We believe that approaching dining as an experiential form gives us a platform for exploring ceremony and ritual as improvisatory events. Join us in the café to make some music with new friends!
Connectivity_Café is an experimental dining experience in which a meal is reimagined as a vehicle for expressive interaction. In this experience, dining is viewed as a social event that may be shaped and conditioned to enable surprising and meaningful sense-making among guests.
The construction of dramatic and theoretical social frameworks is at the center of our research. To fully explore the dining experience as an expressive medium, we carefully cultivate a multitude of immersion methods that challenge and advance current ideas of habitual actions in the dining context. We invite guests to partake in a meal— an inherently communal enterprise—in an “activated” environment where sensor data is processed and synthesized into gesturally modulated expressions. Interactions among guests and reactions from the utensils and other objects create a “theater of things” where expressive gestures are rewarded with unexpected responses from the environment. The primary focus of this experimental meal-as-event is to encourage creative intimacy in a poetic atmosphere. The Connectivity Café promotes conviviality and transforms the isolation and exclusivity that is often the byproduct of new media. We also seek to answer questions about what kinds of artistic expressions may be possible in a ritual context, and how we can stimulate a synesthetic experience that catalyzes a sensory and cognitive appreciation for culture, food history, social behavior, and interpersonal relationships.
Connectivity_Cafe_vBuffet is an audio-sculptural iteration of the larger project in which visual and haptic expressions can also be shared with remote locations via telematically-mated objects and media. More about this project can be viewed at http://synthesiscenter.net

Yanjun Lyu

Yanjun Lyu (吕彦君) is an interactive media designer, artist, and researcher. Her research focuses on augmenting and mediating the scope of human interaction to improve affective expression, to address human aesthetic and emotional needs, and to develop new forms of technology-aided human interaction as well as warmer, more emotionally nuanced designs through theoretical, psychological, and […]

Shomit Barua

Shomit Barua is a faculty instructor at Arizona State University for the Writing Programs, Barrett Honors College, and W. P. Carey School of Business. He teaches Freshman Composition and Business Writing to native and international students, specializing in practical applications of textbook concepts. His areas of expertise include visual rhetoric, digital humanities, performance and interdisciplinary […]