Drawing Spaces

Research area
Interface Ecologies
Research Project
Mette Ramsgard Thomsen, Jasminko Novak.

Drawing Spaces is an interactive environment exploring embodied interaction paradigms. Conceived as an extended window, Drawing Spaces assembles actions in the gallery space with the transient movements of cars, buses and passer-bys in the street beyond the gallery facade. The interface merges the view of two cameras. The primary camera records the users' actions before the projection screen. The live video stream is processed to calculate new images based on the difference between two consecutive frames. As more 'difference-images' are superimposed an abstracted trace of movement appears. Users learn to interact through trial and error, moving in front of the projection screen mirroring themselves in their light traces. A second camera points through the glass facade of the gallery to the street beyond. Here, images from the streetscape are captured and mixed with the movement light traces. The dynamic images become a medium - or space - where the users' presence becomes the material of its construction.

During the exhibition of Drawing Spaces, it was observed that users engage with installation as an extended mirror. Recognising the form of their silhouette, they immediately understand their role within the computed dimension. The dark surface of the image is interrupted only by actions held in time, creating the basis of a durational space where boundaries are temporal, reflecting the relationship between the user's physical body - its size and physicality - as well as its movement. Drawing Spaces relies on the double image of the window and the mirror creating a clear sense of contact between the city and the gallery as well as the users who inhabit it. The images are extended and reformed so as to hold new means for interaction. Here, space is a result of inhabitation, of behaviour rather than form, of the body rather than a conception of extension.

Drawing Spaces was exhibited at Embodied Interface at the Grand Parade Gallery, University of Brighton, December 2002 and at CyNetArt, Dresden, 2000.

Drawing Spaces is developed in collaboration with and through support by University of Brighton, School of Architecture and Design.

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