In the fall of 2000, the Walker received an NEA National Leadership Grant for an interactive telematic table project.

Computer-generated image of Information Lounge (with table inside)
Herzog & de Meuron, April 2002
We are envisioning a human-scaled interface that is neither a standard desktop computer nor a public kiosk, but which viscerally engages the user; encourages social interaction among groups of people, can be networked and adapt to a variety of situations and museum spaces. Like an ordinary table, the telematic table is a space of gathering and exchange. It will give its users access to the Walkeris multidisciplinary collections and resources, foster curiosity and inquiry into the museumis information assets, and create a setting for social interaction and dialogue among groups of visitors.

Request for proposals sent to a selected international group of artists, designers, and architects

In early 2002 an inter-departmental experience planning group from the Walker requested proposals for the table, which would be installed in an information lounge in the town square of the planned Herzog & de Meuron expansion of the Walker Art Center.

In the summer of 2002, 5 finalists were selected to submit expanded proposals.

Sawad Brooks and
Goil Amornvivat


David Small Design

Julie Snow Architects

Marek Walczak, Michael McAllister, Jakub Segen
and Peter Kennard

After extensive discussion, the experience planning team, impressed by its shoulder-to-shoulder informality and intuitive, gesture-based interface, selected the proposal by Walczak et al.

The Dialog project, as Walczak's team named it, has gone through many iterations. The final result, presented as part of Strangely Familiar:Design and Everyday Life, has a cast fiberglass base that holds two computers and LCD projectors that rear-project the interface onto orb-shaped translucent glass, which form the table surfaces.Two infrared video cameras above the table track user hand movements, which act as the cursor for the interface. The interface pulls information from the Walker's database of collections and resources. Users drag images of artworks, performers, films and online art they are interested in and use the interface tools to query for more information about them. The user can also find other related works that curators have suggested; and create a personal bookmark of their favorite objects, which can be viewed online later.

iteration two

iteration three

final prototype

demonstration of interface

While Dialog is a fully functioning table, it is also a prototype for the final installation in the Walker expansion. If you have any comments about the table and your experience of it, please feel free to send them to the experience planning team.