Secret Trails

2011, installation

The idea for the final project for the multimedia authoring course at Media Lab Helsinki/Finland was to make the trails people leave in space visible.

I have always been fascinated by the idea that people moving in public space actually take part in its creation: they change it, either known or not. It just happens.

The installation shows the trails people leave by projecting them back into the same space. It uses kinect’s depth sensor in connection with the ofxTuioKinect add-on for openFrameworks to detect the movement. The number of people tracked (= number of blobs) can easily be chosen before running the program. Ones running the application will detect the biggest blobs up to the number chosen beforehand. It creates an array of classes storing the older position values of every blob (=person) and slowly fades out the oldest position by increasing it’s transparency. The blob is then drawn as a circle in a certain color. The color can be changed by key press or using the UI. The UI also allows to change the visibility of a certain blob (= person) and start/stop updating the position of a blob. Using the UI the user can influence a certain blob (using it’s unique identifier) or all blobs at a time.

I defined the color scheme beforehand. At the moment there are 10 different colors, which can be easily changed in the code. There is also clap detection so a person can “play” alone with the application. Using the ofxCvKalman add on it detects only the amplitude of clapping. Clapping ones starts/stops drawing of all blobs (persons). Clapping twice changes the visibility of all blobs (=persons). The clap detection has been implemented in the second phase of developing the application but in the later showings of the installation it could not be used, because the environments were too loud.

The installation has been shown set up and shown in 4 different locations: For the presentation during the multimedia authoring course in Taik’s TAI studio, for the presentation during Open Workshop in Media Labs workshop room, during Mlab Demo Day in a lecture room at Taik and during the Shush Helsinki 2011 event in an old industrial building in Helsinki.

I am also looking for new locations to set it up. I am especially interested in presenting it in a public space to a broader public.



download source-code