MeYouandUs is the cover name for a series of three artworks that encourage passers by to directly interact and create their own narrative. Each interactive requires different levels of involvement, from instantaneous to requirng an element of process. All enable participants to express and perform in original ways.
The artworks can be configured for different contexts and locations. Originally conceived as a digital triptych to be shown in large transport hubs. Aspects are currently being shown on BBC big screens and have also been displayed as part of our recent solo show at Hub Manchester and residency at FACT, Liverpool.
Each artwork consists of a large plasma screen, a video camera and a PC. The video camera creates a virtual reflection of the spectators in the plasma screen. This reflection is then digitally manipulated in real time using custom software created for each theme.
Mirror 1: Self
The real-time video is manipulated to create a 3 second buffer that is played and reversed at variable speed. exaggerating and repeating the viewers’ movements. An instant and spontaneous relationship is created as the viewer gains a third person perspective of themselves
in almost real time.
Mirror 2: Others
Loosely based on the children’s game whereby a folded piece of paper is passed around and different people draw a part of the body in turn. In this case the screen is split into seven segments and displays a view of a composite body made up of 7 different images of different people from the head to the feet.
Participants stand in front of the mirror. The software uses face recognition to identify them. They will initially see their head fill the top segment of the screen, when the next person interacts their head will replace the previous persons who will now see their shoulders; this continues down the body in sequence each time a new person interacts. (The software compensates for different heights so that even a small child will see their head in the top segment and their feet in the bottom segment seven steps later)
Mirror 3: Nature
This piece contrasts with the other two. In “Self” and “Others” people fully create the content and narrative. Nature is created from contrasting pre-recorded organic, abstract and natural videos that are hidden and revealed based on any movement in front of the screens.
Two video layers (foreground and background) are stacked on top of each other. The camera uses motion capture software to create an accurate silhouette of the participants and reveals the background video layer.