More selected projects

a face on a medium transmitted from a medium

It is a projection-mapped generative art piece structured on the prerequisite of being projected on tv surfaces. Considering its literal and conceptual framing, “A face on a medium transmitted from a medium” is meant to expose, manipulate and distort a public face.

produced by: Eirini Kalaitzidi

Concept _

The artwork is serving tv’s primary functions of giving publicity and firing a great amount of data, either clearly organised or tangled. Choosing to follow the aesthetics of the Golden Age of Television, late 1940s till the early 1960s, when tv broadcasts were limited to live productions (analogous to current live projections), i chose to emit a “public face” of the same era: “The face of Peace”, by Pablo Picasso (1950).

Visuals _

The artwork consists of 3 main and 2 supplementary scenes. With an intention of creating a narrative, the face of the piece is manipulated generatively in various ways. It is multiplied, it is stretched, it is rotated, it is shaken, it is divided into facial fragments, it is pinned on the screen and then overthrown to a free fall. Passing through the different scenes, the displayed visuals are coloured either black or white in order to create a harsh contrast. The only coloured element appears in the second scene: the bird-shape filled with a short video recording from “Livada” seacoast, in Tinos island. Despite of appearing very little, the bird is the most alive and conceptually “generative” part of the projection, considering that it incorporates water, nature, liquidity, change.

On top of all the scenes, a tv frame is added in order to define the context of the projection while the other surfaces of the projected boxes are covered with white noise, as a twisted choice of locating the expected tv visuals.

Technical Process _

The art piece is made with C++ in openFrameworks.

It starts with 100 faces appearing on screen like spreading black stains on a white canvas. Organised in arrays of location, size and rotation angle, the faces are randomly distributed on the screen and moving independently from each other. After reaching a specific size, they start trembling with a rhythm that is mapped with time.

The second scene is structured around an oscillating nose. The rest of the face is fragmentarily appearing on screen in wrong positions and dimensions. There are three options to display when the nose tilts to the right and three different options when it tilts to the left. The choice of the displayed option is depending on a random value (0 - 1) generated every time the nose passes from the vertical axis. At the same time, the dove of the “face of Peace” is drawn as an ofPath outline and as a mask to project a video in it.

The third scene displays a grid of faces organised in a nested for( ) loop. A vector of the faces keeps track of their number while one by one is vanishing and another one is appearing falling from the exact position of the lastly vanished face. This was the most challenging part in terms of developing an appropriate mathematical approach to the problem.

The white noise is created while manipulating directly the pixels of the screen with GL_LUMINANCE and passing them to an ofTexture object. Since the white noise image is grayscale (0 - 255), there is only one unsigned char per pixel. The final “switching off” scene is also using the ofTexture object but this time inside the dove's fbo instead of the whole window.

Self Evaluation _

I feel satisfied with my minimal approach to the tv theme. Since the geometry of the projected shapes was simple and very specific, the challenge was to be conceptually creative with them. It was my goal to deliver a narrative driven projection of clear visuals and avoid any grotesque or rambling outcome. After filming the projection though, i regret the use of absolute white in my scenes because it was difficult to adjust the camera settings to the contrast of black and white.

Lastly, commenting on the use of two actual tvs and three white boxes faking the tvs, i recognise a playful adjustment of our team to our material sources. After not succeeding in finding five actual tvs, we invented this hybrid composition which adds an extra dimension to the “face on a medium [reenacting a medium] transmitted from a medium”.