15 Jan 2013

1. Still Life by Scott Garner

Still Life from Scott Garner on Vimeo.

This project involves turning a still life painting into an interactive exhibit. Instead of being a purely visual experience, the “painting” invites you to touch and rotate it. A spatial sensor detects the orientation of the “painting” and applies gravity appropriately to the objects within the “painting”. I was really impressed by the project and thought it was extremely successful both in terms of concept and implementation. Conceptually, it provides a connection between the “old world” medium of painting, particularly still life, and the new digital age. This connection can be furthered to the ideologies of older canonical masterpieces and their inaccessibility, and the ease of accessibility of the modern age. In terms of implementation, it has the look of a beautiful still life that would seem perfectly normal to have on one’s wall, and the gravity and response time of the tilt seem pretty spot on. Also, it just seems like such a darn satisfying experience to move this thing and watch the objects move around. The one issue that I wonder about with this project that is not mentioned or addressed on the project’s page is how the scene is reset. At some point, the scene might just be too chaotic to enjoy the experience and need to be reset. Also, the most satisfying and important experience of the exhibit is that first movement of the “painting”, when the still life is at its original position and then suddenly everything moves, so I would think that it would need to be easily reset-able.

2. Blow by Noa Dol

Blow from noa dol on Vimeo.

This is a fairly simple project that involves allowing the user to uncover hidden images by blowing using their mouth. From the video it seems that the artist is using faceOSC to detect when and where in the webcam’s screen space the user is blowing and then maps that to a portion of the image. This project pleasantly surprised me for a number of reasons (besides the odd choice of the project’s title). Firstly, I was surprised that was done with faceOSC; given that in the real world uncovering an image in this way would be a consequence of the breath that you exhale when you blow, I would have thought to use a sensor to detect your breath. Here, the artist is using the actual motions your face makes to detect the blow. I was also very impressed with the effectiveness of the application; there is a very nice, satisfying response on screen each time you blow. I think that it would be a very interesting effect to incorporate into a larger application, such as a game which is something that I might want to explore for a future project.

3. Revolution II by Pierre Marzin
This is a cool project that allows the user to create complex three-dimensional curved surfaces by drawing simple two-d curves with your mouse. It provides a nice experience for the user who gets to pretty much create something from nothing, and some very beautiful somethings at that. Still, there are some limitations that could be improved upon. Firstly, the application is not easily controllable. It is great for experimentation and creating pretty, complex shapes, but it cannot easily be used for any sort of “drawing” or pre-determined image creation. Secondly, the mechanics of the application could be better. As it stands, the user clicks and holds the left mouse button to draw a curve, then clicks anywhere to define an axis for the curve to be revolved around. However, if I had not read this, it would not be very intuitive that the second click defines this axis. Also, when the curve that the user draws is somewhat complex, the relationship between the curve, the axis and the resulting surface is less distinguishable. I think that which some more fleshing out, this could be a really neat tool for quick surface creation.