“Cocoon” is an audio-visual interactive piece through computer vision. It generates visual and audio changes according to participants' body movements to discuss the pressure of women in their growth, that is, harm and self-protection in a peeping environment.
produced by: Peilu Chen
Fragments are sharp knives,
Words are swords,
A cocoon is an entanglement,
also a haven.
Concept and background research
How many shackles and dangers will a girl face to grow up to "break the cocoon into a butterfly"? In recent years, women's growth and women's rights have always been a topic of great concern. Whether it is social culture's excessive oppression of women's gender norms or the threat posed by potential abusers and snoopers to their growth, they have become the pressure of women's growth.
My inspiration comes mainly from Vladimir Nabokov's novel "Lolita" and BBC Two's documentary "Japan's Secret Shame", both of which talk about violence against women and girls. The visual concept of "cocoon" comes from a bad habit of "Footbinding" in ancient China, which is to wrap women's feet in silk, has become an important condition for the aesthetics of women in ancient China. However, even though this custom has long been abolished, it has not disappeared in modern society because there still exists prejudice against women and hurts them mentally. I express the contradiction caused by this pressure in the form of a "cocoon". If you look at the figure alone, it is more like pieces of fragments, but as the participant's movement becomes bigger, they will be intertwined and become a giant net, as small harm will accumulate to a big net. On the one hand, "cocoon" symbolizes winding and being manipulated, and on the other hand, is the existence of a protective net because I believe that this pressure will eventually arouse the awakening of female autonomy and become a driving force for women to break through the constraints.
Due to limited conditions, I cannot use most of the interactive methods including OSC and Kinect for my work, and my choices are very few. Therefore, I decided to use computer vision to achieve interaction. The PS3Eye Camera is used as input to capture the participants ’actions. Surprisingly, it plays the role of a" voyeur "very well. The women ’s every action in front of the screen is monitored and her fate is manipulated by the net as well. When participants interact, a mesh pattern will follow their movements, and the greater the amplitude of their movements, the more they appear to be entangled. I replaced each end vertex of the mesh pattern with letters to express the sharp, hurtful words, which is also a symbol of the prejudice suffered by women in their growth. At the same time, I use ofxMaxim to generate sound, which is intended to represent the trapped state. By using ofMap, the location of the participant's hand on the screen changes the frequency and waveforms of the sound, forming into an audio-visual interaction.
I start with the simplest shape first, drawing a circle to make it interact normally, and then test the fragment element to make it runs smoothly. In this process, ofDist is used to calculate the distance. When the distance between the points is less than a certain point, they will be connected. Finally, I replaced the circle with letters to as the final visual shows.
I couldn't start working before I decided on the concept, this topic is what I am interested in. But in actual work, I found some limitations of my own, which led to a certain deviation of the final visual effect from what I expected. At first, I wanted to create a more authentic and entangled web, and to follow the participants' hand movements to produce more changes. After some failed attempts, I found that I can only start with simple patterns, and use simple graphics to approach the preset effects. There is still some interference during the capture process, making the capture inaccurate. I still got a lot to learn but the final effect is better than I thought.
In the future, I want to commit to further improvement on the graphic design to achieve better visual effects and make participants feel more immersive and create a better interactive experience. If possible, I also want to try to use leap motion to control the changes in graphics and sound, which focuses more on the hand movements of participants to interact with my net.
Shirley See Yan Ma. "Footbinding: A Jungian Engagement with Chinese Culture and Psychology". 2009
BBC Two. "Japan's Secret Shame". 2019
#Metoo movement https://metoomvmt.org/about/
Vladimir Nabokov. "Lolita". 1996
Yihan Lin. "房思琪的初恋乐园". 2017
Week 12 - Computer Vision - Webcam piano