An interactive installation produced for my MFA Thesis show involving video projection, OpenFrameworks, and Kinect cameras.
I designed a physical platform to immerse the viewer, the spectator, reverse the roles in the system of photography, and allow those involved to question the process. The means we receive images impacts how we comprehend the documented experience.
The space seeks to provide another access point for the experience. It is mediated not through photographer or frame of the camera, but on another level, through control by the user. When the spectator becomes operator, they are in control. They are the apparatus, not the camera. By allowing the spectator control over how the images are displayed, they reflect, reinterpret, and form a narrative through control. Through control the spectator can connect with the experience and the object, in this case the crowd, in the photograph.
Role: content, programming, construction
The focus of a concert is typically what is on stage. All attention is on the lights, the sounds, and the energy of the band performing on the stage. This is the spectacle that mesmerizes a crowd, participants sharing in the experience.
The spectacle for the photographer exists within the entire space of the room. The photographer focuses attention on both the stage and the crowd. They take a step back, remove themselves, observe the experience, and capture a representation within the camera’s frame. All the energy and chaos is presented for the photographer only to control and confine. To what affect? To mediate the chaos, this overwhelming experience, for a viewer. Is there a way to immerse the viewer, pull them back in to the experience?
To preserve the authenticity of the experience of a mosh pit, I researched structures with circular form. I was inspired by the cyclorama and the types of art displayed in its 360-degree form. For my design, I went through several iterations to figure out how the canvas would look and function--from hand drawings, to detailed digital renderings, to table-top models, and finally life-size prototypes. Putting in all this work upfront helped me to determine the technology, materials, and space I would need to execute this immersive experience.
A cyclorama is a panoramic painting on the inside of a cylindrical platform, designed to provide a viewer standing in the middle of the cylinder with a 360° view of the painting. The intended effect is to make a viewer, surrounded by the panoramic image, feel as if they were standing in the midst of an historic event or famous place.
Because of the amount of technology required, fabrication for the structure, and constraints of the space in the gallery, I had to scale back the original 360-degree design. As a compromise, a two-wall interactive projection was installed at MassArt's Bakalar & Paine Gallery as part of the Graduate Thesis Exhibition. I used two HD projectors mounted from the ceiling and mapped the video to stretch between the two walls using a software called MadMapper. The interaction was controlled with a Kinect camera mounted to the ceiling pointing at the floor. An application connected to the Kinect through OpenFrameWorks detected people in the space as "blobs." As a user moved closer to the wall, the video would speed up, simulating being taken along with the crowd, and then slow down as the user moved closer to the center of the space, a chance to observe.
In order to convey the perspective of being inside a mosh pit I had to put the camera there, at the center of a crowd at a concert. Constraints with security and people noticing a large DSLR camera, I chose to use the GoPro Hero 3 to capture still images set on a 2-sec interval for about 1.5 hours. The pocket-size camera was attached to the GoPro's chest mount which I wore under a black tshirt with a hole cut out for the camera lens. The experience was much like being tossed around in a washing machine, but energizing at the same time. The results were a surprise as I had not known that the GoPro has an auto-shutter based on available light. The images captured were a mix of blurred human forms, abstract light streaks saturated in color, total darkness, and bursts of white light. From the 1000+ images I chose approximately 750 to be in the final time-lapse video.