Remnance of Form

Remnance of Form is an interactive installation, by the artist Sang-won Leigh, that explores the dynamic tension between an object and its shadow. By fusing light, projection, and motion technologies, the shadow can now detach itself from its former role. This creates a new narrative that challenges our perception of reality, what’s real and what’s not.

The entire installation was set up in a cubic structure of 8 feet x 8 feet x 8 feet. Three entities (a white ball, a light bulb, and a shadow) are presented to the viewers. Using Kinect and Pointgrey cameras, we track the viewers’ activities as well as the position of the ball and the light bulb. The shadow’s size/position is computed based on tracked positions of the ball and the light bulb; therefore, moving either of them will change the size and position of the shadow. An Optoma projector is used to create lighting and shadow effects.

The proposed setup allows direct manipulation of the light bulb. It is notable that, as the light bulb starts to swing like a pendulum, the computer-generated shadow becomes much more realistic because our mind automatically picks up the synchronized motions of the light bulb and the shadow. This, combined with the viewers’ presences and body postures, allows the interaction between the viewers and the ball with its shadow to become more playful and perceptively appealing.

Through five unique vignettes – Disappearing, Showing Fear, Changing Shape, Dream of Flying, and Possessing the Ball, we demonstrate interactions that involve varying degree of whimsical behavior, tweaking of the shadow’s shape, and viewers’ engagement into the narrative.

Sang-won Leigh, MIT Media Lab
Ann Paradiso, Microsoft Research
Asta Roseway, Microsoft Research
Chris O’Dowd, Microsoft Research

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