Karolina Sobecka is a Polish artist that works with animation, design, interactivity, computer games and other media. Her work often engages public space and explores ways in which we interact with the world we create. Sniff is an interactive projection in a storefront window. When motion is detected along the sidewalk in front of the display, a virtual dog appears and responds the person’s behavior and gestures. The passerby’s movements are tracked by a computer vision system, and the dog behaves differently depending on how he is engaged. Like a real canine, big swift actions are interpreted as threatening, while slow and friendly actions directed to him are interpreted as friendly. He tracks and remembers the attitude of the viewer and forms a relationship with them over time based on the history of interaction. Depending on the nature of the relationship, he may bark, growl, roll over or even play fetch.
The installation is created with Unity3d Game Engine which renders the dog and makes it change its behavior based on tracking data. Infrared-sensitive cameras are used to detect movements of passer-by in front of the display window. Sniff explores the engagement between two different planes of understanding and the relationships that emerge. The experience is familiar yet strange, leading us to re-examine the notions we take for granted. The dog’s behavior represents the processes of assessment, evaluation and testing that are performed every time anything new enters our lives.
Philippe Blanchard is a Canadian artist, animator, teacher and curator. He is widely known for his unique fusion of animation, installation, light shows, drawing, painting and printmaking. In Time Tunnel, Blanchard created an experience that transcends time and space. An kinaesthetic experience in a parallel universe with inspirations from light shows, rock concert visuals and raves, while fusing popular notions of human prehistory, psychedelia and early 60s Happenings. Nothing is really moving, but it appears to be. Overhead projectors were upgraded and programmed to emit sequenced projections. With eight RGB strobe lights projected at the graphically-complex patterns, the designs undulate and appears as if it became alive. According to Blanchard, the designs are draw from images of cables and wires, they form seamless pathways, so they connect back and on top of each other. The lights were designed to detect the tempo of sounds or music and change the speed of the light sequence according the the beat. The overhead projectors, strobe lights, wall and floor designs, all appear to communicate with each other to produce an effect that is otherworldly.
Time Tunnel – An Animated Light Show by Philippe Blanchard from Philippe Blanchard on Vimeo.
Botanicalls is an innovative system that opens a new channel of communication between nature and humans. Initially developed in 2006 by NYC graduates, Rob Faludi, Kate Hartman, and Kati London, Botanicalls allows plants in need of water to make phone calls to owners asking for exactly what it needs. Vice versa, owners can phone their plants to check the status, moisture levels, temperatures, and botanical characteristics. This enhances the connection between people and plants, in an effort to promote successful inter-species understanding and remind us the importance of natural life in this digital age. Advanced to accommodate the ever-changing modern technologies, Botanicalls now allows plants to text, email or tweet their needs online.
Sensor probes placed deep into the soil measures the amount of moisture present. The readings are sent to a microcontroller built into the unit that translates the data into information that can be sent over the internet through an embedded Ethernet connection. The information is then sent to the human’s phone, email or Twitter account. These visual and aural reminders will help people who are unsure of their ability to effectively care for growing plants. Through this innovative technology, a plant will never die prematurely again.
Thomas Hirschhorn is a Swiss contemporary artist best known for hypersaturated interactive installations. His aesthetics and artistic vision was heavily influenced by his early contributions to Grapus, a Communist graphic design group concerned with politics and culture. His interest in hard core reality, without disillusions is evident in many of his work, predominantly in his 2012 video piece Touching Reality.
*WARNING, GRAPHIC IMAGES*
Touching Reality is a video piece of a hand scrolling through gruesome images of destroyed human bodies on a touchscreen. The title Touching Reality is meant to be understood literally and provides a way of looking at physical contact with images of violent death. Directly taken from the online circulation of vast images, it is intended to bring discomfort and challenge the viewer’s tactile hypersensitivity to the raw truth of violence and war. In today’s world, reality is heavily covered by reducible information, opinions, comments and facts created by the media which has become the main source of everyone’s information. The images of the corpses in this piece are in its rawest irreducible state that represents the truth of the war and violence without the layers of filters formed by higher power within society. Hirschhorn has integrated these similar themes and images into his previous works including Superficial Engagement (2006), The Incommensurable Banner (2008), Ur-Collage (2008) and Crystal of Resistance (2011). Touching Reality is another successful piece of art in Hirschhorn’s lineup with an underlying message on media propaganda, politics, culture and reality.