"We’re surrounded by systems, devices and machineries generating heaps of raw graphic novelty. We built them, we programmed them, we set them loose for a variety of motives, but they do some unexpected and provocative things." – Bruce Sterling, An Essay on the New Aesthetic
A new exhibit, Wired Frames, is opening at the Eyebeam Art and Technology Center in New York City tomorrow. It's curated by James George, and uses the technology of tracking and surveillance that surrounds us to create new works of art. George paired a Microsoft Kinect and a DSLR to capture people's movements through space and time in the Union Square subway station for a work he called Depth Editor Debug.
"No matter where you go these days, there are machines tracking you movements, scanning your face, this world of technology built by the government and the military," says George, an artist in residence at Eyebeam who is curating this show. "But I think the point of this exhibit is to show that it doesn't have to be some dystopian world. We can break these technologies open, we can remake them into art, we can open source them and teach everybody how they work."
A mirror image with your face swapped out for that of a stranger or celebrity
Two of the artists, Arturo Castro and Kyle McDonald, have been exploring the creative appropriation of an advanced face recognition system developed by Jason Saragih. The system tracks a highly detailed set of facial characteristics creating a virtual mask that deforms to your expressions. They have created an interactive installation, Faces, that showing visitors a mirror image of themselves with their face swapped for that of a stranger or celebrity.
James George, Alexander Porter, and Jonathan Minard have been collectively developing an open source system for ﬁlm making called the RGBDToolkit, which uses the Microsoft Kinect camera paired with a DSLR video camera. The image capture system creates three-dimensional models of the subjects in video that can be re-photographed from any angle virtually. Both collaborative groups use openFrameworks, a creative coding platform in C++, to create custom software behind the works. They used this technology to create both Depth Editor Debug and Clouds, a portrait and interview series with artists and programmers discussing the way digital culture is changing creative practices.
"It's amazing the possibilities that devices like the Kinect has brought to the average consumer," says George. "It really democratizes some advanced technology and gives anyone the ability to pull some very interesting levers." The exhibit is free, opens tomorrow and runs through May 17th at the Eyebeam Center in New York.