interactive shoe plot

Shoe-Field is an interactive installation representing people's feelings about their shoes and their interaction with other people's shoes. Shoe-Field was installed at MEDIA in San Francisco in 1986. Documentation of Rapoport's first shoe event, A Shoe-In,1982, served as backdrop. Most visible was an enlarged computer-generated field map rolled out on a 17 foot ramp. It represented the interaction of 76 people and their shoes. This field-map, a plotted composite of quantified shoe information from A Shoe-In, consisted of: answers to shoe questions, choice of foot rest and foot position while the shoes were photographed, the participants position in line (they were given numbers), and, lastly, interviews about their shoes. The data was computed in an electric field theory program that created this topographical-like force field map composed of numbers and letters. In reading this map the 76 shoe energy charges and the affect they had upon each other could be discerned. The shoe responses had been responsible for altering the artwork graphically.

The "real time" field in the interactive installation at MEDIA consisted of a floor covered with black 2' x 2' tiles. These tiles had been imprinted in white ink with five different patterns that were the basic designs for the energy levels before they became interactive. At the entrance to the installation participants were asked to take off their shoes and to place them on the floor tile whose pattern resembled the printout they had received from answering shoe questions on the computer.

The shoes on the tile were photographed and placed in the shoe bag pocket reserved for photos of shoes carrying the same energy charge. Next, participants selected a pair of shoes from among the slides of shoes from the earlierShoe-In that they would most like to interact with. This time, an interactive plot pattern emerged from the printer after the slide number and their own shoe number were entered into a second computer. In addition to the printout of an interactive podiatric Rorschark, the participants at the Tish Center, New York University, 1988; the Richmond Art Center, 1989; and the Capp Street Project, 1996, received a shoe psyche reading.

John Watkins was the computer design engineer.