Proxemics saving our personal space, a Cultural shock


Been a foreigner trying to adapt to a change, understand different culture patterns creates invisible barriers.

Personal dimensions of space - Eduard T. Hall graphics

First questions & origin of my idea

Digital barriers in XXI century communications era. Which are our first impressions to meet someone of a different culture?, perhaps awkwardness, how do we behave? there are behavioral patterns in the people of the same culture?.

How we meet people?, how do we greet in different cultures? In which situations we feel more, or less comfortable with ourselves or with other people that surround us, is the space between us something that matters?.

According to psychological and anthropological investigations in the field of human behavior and proxemics certain things counts when you relate to people, for example a handshake, a hug or a kiss on the chick; these simple things tells so much about us and where do we come from and who we are in a certain way; keeping this in mind I developed an interactive installation combined with a performance to try to meet and greet people but at the same time make them feel uncomfortable.

The performance explores the concept of personal space and how do we break or adapt into different situations according to our cultural background.

I want to provide a test field to make people a little bit uncortable and also break those barriers, sharing something about my cultural background. When someone feels threatened or not very comfortable try to avoid contact, it's easier in really small places as elevators or corridors to see this type of behavior.

If I succeed in breaking this barriers with some of the transmediale participants it' would be nice to record their facial expressions when they do it to compare it with previous facial expressions recorded of people from another cultural background .

It's a sociological and anthropological experiment push it through the capacity of technical reactive space.

Setup & Performance

For the setup of the installation i will need ca. 45 minutes to one hour, because i will need to calibrate the cameras, the projector, the kinect, the speakers and put the furniture in place with the projection wall and also to do all the plug in for the VGA[[Standards/Video|Video Graphics Array]] wire around the space.

The performance will be held in a narrow space but not close, just with certain space limitations, delimited by duct tape on the floor or by one scaffolding for the video projection and a green screen beneath the viewer.

When the people enter into this space a web camera it's going to detect or recognize the people's face, with this input a video will be triggered, the video content is about how the people meet and greet in different cultures also combined with basic facial expressions, during this moment I will approach to the viewer and try to meet and greet him or her and try to invade their personal space.

If I succeed in getting really close to them (around 20 cm ) a kinect device it's going to recognize the distance between us and take a picture that provides our body positions, and data distance between our bodies centers.

Everything described above will be recorded for documentation purposes.

For every person it will take around to 30 second to 1 minute to see the response if I am lucky enough to manage a lot of people this will take approximately 45 minutes to get a lot of data and facial a body expressions from the different viewers and actors of this interactive- performative installation happening.

Technical details


  • Projector beamer about 2000-3000 lumens
  • 2 Laptops with vlc or quicktime for video play (I will provide one of them)
  • Kinect V1 or Kinect V2 with all the cables and plug ins adapters for mac laptop
  • VGA[[Standards/Video|Video Graphics Array]] cable ca. 8 mt. long
  • VGA[[Standards/Video|Video Graphics Array]] mac adapter (I will provide)
  • wireless web camera
  • A set of speakers (standard stereo) (mini Jack cable)

-Documentation- (This will be provided)

  • DSLR Camera
  • SD card
  • Camera Lenses
  • Tripod

-Space Installation-

  • A low light room or closed space with (7X2X2) mt. long, deep and high
  • Little sofa for 2 people
  • 2 High shelf (over the sofa for projection against the wall) (next to the sofa for recording and people detection system)
  • Industrial duct tape
  • At least 3 electric outlets
  • electric extension board (I will provide)


  • Me
  • People in the delimited space