You probably don’t pay much attention to the gestures you make on your touchscreen handset. The constant swiping through articles or news feeds, pinching to zoom closer, flicking through virtual pages in iBooks, and all the other hand movements we do on a daily basis to interact with our phones.
Royal College of Art student Gabriele Meldaikyte has taken a bit more notice of them than most and transformed these simple, yet integral, movements into a series of sculptures in Multi-Touch Gestures. Meldaikyte notes that there are five actions which makeup the way we engage with our phones using our fingers. These are flick, pinch, tap, swipe, and scroll, what she calls “‘signatures’ of the Apple iPhone” (and, presumably, Android phones and other touchscreen devices).
But these interactions will inevitable change, just like the way most of us don’t type onto a tactile keyboard anymore on our cell phones. User interaction is a constantly evolving and changing field, adapting to user demands as well as technological advances.
Meldaikyte says her sculptures are an act of preservation, capturing these interactions so people can look back and see how it used to be. “I have translated this interface language of communication into 3D objects”, she says on her website, “which mimic every multi-touch gesture. My project is an interactive experience, where visitors can play, learn and be part of the exhibition.”
The sculptures consist of simple mechanics like pulleys and leavers and are made from acrylic and wood, contrasting with the precious metals and circuit boards of an iPhone. Newspaper clippings, book pages, and paper maps replace their virtual equivalents. So you flick a cog to turn the pages of a mini newspaper, pinching involves moving a magnifying glass up and down, tapping becomes a spring-mounted acrylic keyboard, swiping lets you navigate over a real map, while scrolling becomes a pulley system which lets you read through an article.
Images: Gabriele Meldaikyte