Collective Subconscious
Collective Subconscious is an installation that imprints a dynamic collage of reverberating thoughts on a public space as people move through it.

This project involves leaving behind traces of one's thoughts in the space that one passes through and collaging it with other people's thoughts. New messages will be prominently placed while older messages remain in the background and slowly fade out of existence. Words that are repeated over the day by many people will become more prominent and resonates with other instances of the words. As such the display become a visual representation of the state of being for people passing through that area.

If the projection of messages is installed in multiple locations, it would be interesting to see the different collages and contrast the themes and emphasis of different groups of people traversing through space. In relaxed times the collage would be an eclectic display of diverse views, whereas in times of tension the collage would resonate poignant issues and opinions.

Each person has a unique RFID tag that has a personal message associated with it; the message can be updated at any time through a web page. The IDs and messages are stored in a database that can be accessed by instances of the installation through the web server.

When a person places his or her tag near the RFID sensor the detection circuit, which is embedded in an empty journal, sends the ID information of the tag to a computer using the serial interface. With more advanced tags and extensive tuning, the tags could simply carried in a person's pocket, and the act of imprinting the message could be completely passive.

The display of messages is handled by Processing. It determines whether the tag ID is valid and accesses the database for the correct message. The new message is then added to the collage with a short highlight. If a word in the new message is already present in the collage, each instance of that word would highlight and reverberate, echoing in unison the idea they are trying to convey. The message would then slowly fade into the background, waiting for repetition of its words. The collage generated is then projected onto a wall in the public space.

There is no way of adding messages to the display without using the sensor; a person's presence is required to exert or refresh the message. This project is inspired by buttons people pin on their clothing or bags, expressing their likes and dislikes; the wearing of them is therefore an assertion of preferences or agendas. The aggregation of these messages will reveal information regarding the conditions and attitudes of people around you.
Thanks to Sonmicro for abundant technical support of their RFID Kit (which is an excellent easy-to-use RFID kit), and thanks to Sokymat for samples of their RFID tags.