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Ruts in the Road

2009


keywords (in alphabetical order): Behavioral Art; attention; borrowed intelligence; creativity; gesture; habits; interactivity; mapping; neuroplasticity

William James made the famous analogy that the brain develops habits of though similarly to the way ruts are created in a road. When a small rut is driven over, the car will tend to fall directly into that rut, even slightly adjusting the position of the automobile in doing so. Furthermore, wheels repeatedly falling into that rut will erode the rut such that the odds increase that it will be fallen into next time. In Ruts in the Road, users are shown random letters, falling like rain. Employing a very basic form of interactivity, they are instructed to click on letters that occur in their name. Faintly, paths are drawn between points of clicking. One will tends to notice letters in patterned areas and not simply randomly across the screen. At first, these faint paths are difficult to detect, though gradually they accumulate and the paths define a very visible space.


* discussed in paper published in Leonardo Electronic Almanac (LEA)
* featured by Pixelstorm of Simon Fraser University in Canada


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