An interaction

"A large suspended screen presents me with a pulsating fleshy landscape: a grotesque regurgitating stomach. I walk closer, a blue shape has appeared amongst the flesh and I discover that it's me. I experiment, moving my limbs to discover what will happen. My blue avatar starts flying around the space, at first clumsily but soon I am navigating the space and causing the many organs to noisily undulate, move and transform as though repelling my invasion. A friend joins me and we form a blue elephant spinning around and disturbing the flesh into action."

 

Background

The Fly was created for the 2011 Deptford X Art Festival in response to the curators' themes of the pleasures of the decorative and sensual overload.

Loosely referencing a primordial swamp, The Fly is a monstrous soup enabling the continual reorganisation of body parts from different species. In this work all flesh is equal: humans are animals too. Our intention is for the audience to be initially over-whelmed by this lurid anatomical spectacle and then charmed by the fantastical journey they may take within it.

This piece was developed from an earlier series of experimental large scale interactive installations using Kinect technology which we ran in the Shangri-La Zone at the 2011 Glastonbury Festival. The sound was designed by Patricia Afari (aka NuKarm) who generated a series of evocative sound effects for each of the individual elements. These were produced by digitally manipulating natural sounds.

The Fly continues our research into intuitive interaction and multiple user interaction. We've also developed a more considered use of sound.

 

Technical description

Hardware · PC, projector, Kinect, speakers

Software · Processing

Projection surface · PVC screen

Nature of interaction · motion tracking (unencumbered)

A large PVC screen is suspended from the ceiling in a darkened space. A lurid orangy-green landscape of flesh is rear-projected onto the screen. Stereo speakers are placed behind the screen and attached to the top of the screen's frame is a Kinect sensor. When a participant enters the space their blue silhouette appears at a small scale onto the screen - they are like a fly crawling over the surface. By experimenting with the movement of their limbs, participants learn to navigate their Kinect-driven avatar across this surface, triggering sound and motion within in the work. This piece has been constructed to work with multiple users.

This highly-coloured artwork is constructed from video of the artists' bodies and the artists' dinners (chicken, offal, octopus, and so on ...). Each item of flesh has a unique sound which plays while the flesh is in motion. The visuals and sounds are fused using open source, handwritten software into a churning whole.