Video: Mehmet Akten – “Body Paint”

Created by Mehmet Akten, “Body Paint”is an interactive installation and performance allowing users to paint on a virtual canvas with their body, interpreting gestures and dance into evolving compositions. Pretty cool if you ask me.

Custom software analyzes live feed from infra-red cameras in real-time, and converts shape and motion into colors, drips and brush-strokes. The software was written in C++ using the open-source toolkit openFrameworks and computer vision library openCV.

The installation is designed to work with any number of people and is scalable to cover small or large areas. The interaction is very simple – movement creates paint. Hidden in the simplicity, are many layers of subtle details. Different aspects of the motion – size, speed, acceleration, curvature, distance all have an effect on the outcome – strokes, splashes, drips, spirals – and is left up to the users to play and discover.

While the installation is suitable for a single user, when multiple users are present a new dynamic emerges between people. A user-to-user interaction is born when the audience start playing with each other through the installation, throwing virtual paint at each other, trying to splash their friends, working collaboratively to create shared artwork, or mischievously trying to vandalize others’ work.

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