interactive experience

Nuit Blanche: recap

Wow! What an amazing weekend in Toronto. On Saturday September 29th, my interactive media installation for Nuit Blanche 2012 went live at sunset. 

What I was hoping for was a (relatively) seamless setup and a healthy interest from passers-by. What I got was more than I could have ever imagined.

local yogis show off some bendy skills

local yogis show off some bendy skills

Things kicked off with talented local yogis demonstrating some rad moves at the Queen Street location. The Cumberland Street location had a large group of supporters who immediately jumped in on the action when the DJ started to spin. Right from the start, the concept of the project was well-received. Stepping into the window display and seeing the moving outline of someone else created surprise and delight; people weren't just smiling, they were beaming!  They loved the idea of dancing, doing yoga and interacting with strangers in real time across a city.

a high five between two individuals at two separate locations

a high five between two individuals at two separate locations

As time wore on, the crowds got bigger and bigger. At one point, there was a line-up to get in front of the screen! I think my twelve-year-old self died with jealousy when a MuchMusic VJ and her camera crew passed by and got in on the action.

Hundreds of spectators stopped to check out the installation at the Queen St location. Photo: Jacqueline Valentine

Hundreds of spectators stopped to check out the installation at the Queen St location. Photo: Jacqueline Valentine

The response from the crowd was incredible. People were entranced by the images they saw before them, and an impressive spirit of community grew as groups of people gathered to dance in front of the screen. The music played a key role here; it drew crowds and interest, and gave people beats to move to. This was critical because dancing and movement caused such a dynamic effect on the screens.

 

People danced like their lives depended on it. Photo: Jacqueline Valentine

People danced like their lives depended on it. Photo: Jacqueline Valentine

One aspect of the project that I had not anticipated was the interest and curiosity created by the backdrop screen. It was a logistically necessary component, but one I had considered secondary to the project. The lights created dancing silhouettes on the backdrop that essentially drew more crowds and intrigue than that of the installation itself. 

Some participants used this shadow-play element as the focal point for their own interaction experience and paid almost no attention to the LED screen. They seemed to be dancing for the sole purpose of creating interesting silhouettes for the crowd.

Silhouettes created unexpected results and additional interest. Photo: Jacqueline Valentine

Silhouettes created unexpected results and additional interest. Photo: Jacqueline Valentine

Others, entranced by the images they saw on the LED screen before them, danced furiously and unknowingly generated spectacular silhouettes that drew a crowd on the street behind them. Some seemed oblivious to anything outside the space between the backdrop and the store window. It was as if the screen provided them a false sense of privacy and anonymity where they could dance as if no one was watching. Ironically, hundreds of people between two locations were observing their movements. It was an interesting phenomenon that I had not expected, and I'm so glad it happened.

The installation was scheduled to come down between midnight and 1:00 am, but demand from the crowd kept the party going until around 2:30 am.  

Thank you Toronto for the amazing Nuit Blanche experience! I feel incredibly grateful to everyone who attended and danced their heart out. 

Cameron Roden filmed the event, and is putting together an awesome video that I'll be sharing soon.  I will be adding a Nuit Blanche project page to my portfolio shortly, so check back soon. 

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Update, October 6: The video is complete! A huge thank you to Cameron for capturing the evening so perfectly.

Nuit Blanche installation goes live tomorrow

If you're in Toronto this weekend, I highly recommend you check out this year's Nuit Blanche art event.

I will be exhibiting an interactive media installation created for lululemon athletica at two locations.  There will be music, yoga, dancing, and some really exciting art. Come check it out at either the Queen St or Cumberland St lululemon locations. We go live at 7pm. 

Hope to see you there! 

ps: here's a sneak peek

 

A test-run of the installation from earlier this week

A test-run of the installation from earlier this week

Nuit Blanche installation - location announcement

If you find yourself in Toronto for this year's Nuit Blanche all-night art event, you have an opportunity to participate in the interactive media installation I am creating for lululemon athletica.  If you're downtown, the Queen St location (as shown on the map) will be in the heart of the action that night. If the crowds or traffic keep you from going all the way downtown, check out the Yorkville location: 152 Cumberland St.

The installation will go live at around 7pm and run until approximately 1am. Hope to see you there! 

 

Nuit Blanche: Project Process

Things are well underway for my interactive installation at the upcoming Nuit Blanche art event in Toronto later this month. 

I have been asked to create an interactive experience utilizing the storefront of two businesses in downtown Toronto. My concept involves utilizing video to connect the participants at either location.

What if people at two separate locations could interact together, transcend physical separation and dance together in real time?

 I will be using webcams to capture the silhouettes of participants, and large LED screens in the store windows to display the interaction. Viewers at either location will be able to see the outlines of themselves as well as the outlines of viewers elsewhere on the screen before them . 

In order to accomplish this, I've enlisted the help of an incredibly talented programmer: Bryan Rite.

Bryan working hard to get our custom program running

Bryan working hard to get our custom program running

We have identified that we will require four webcams to capture the images and four laptops to process the data. This complex program is written in Bash script and utilizes gStreamer to both encode the local video and stream that over a network, as well as receive a network stream and merge that with a local video. 

I will be announcing the locations for this installation shortly, so check back again soon!

Nuit Blanche takes place on September 29th in Toronto. See more information about the event here. 

Announcement: Nuit Blanche 2012

image courtesy of scotiabanknuitblanche.ca

image courtesy of scotiabanknuitblanche.ca

I am thrilled to announce that t I will be participating in this year's Nuit Blanche in Toronto. 

Nuit Blanche is an all-night art event that takes place all over the world. It begins at dusk, and runs all night through to dawn. Toronto's downtown will be turned into a de-facto art gallery, with art pieces, interactive installations and performances filling museums, galleries and public spaces.

I have been asked to create an interactive window display for a well-known Canadian company. Stay tuned for details as the event on September 29 approaches.

 

Small World Big Dreams photos

Illustration: Sarah Clement

Illustration: Sarah Clement

As promised, I wanted to share with you some photos of the other Before I Die walls from around the world as part of the Small World Big Dreams project. I'd like to extend a huge thank you to all of my friends around the world who created walls with me on May 5th. As the photos of each of the walls rolled in across the time zones, I felt closer to my friends knowing that were each doing the same thing, together, only from different corners of the world. Geographical distance melted away as we each created this amazing community art project and shared it with one another and our communities.

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Here are some of my favourite photos from each of the cities: 

Before I die Townsville set up

Before I die Townsville set up

Before I die Berlin set up

Before I die Berlin set up

Before I die Jersey set up

Before I die Jersey set up

declaring dreams with toes in the sand in Townsville, Australia

declaring dreams with toes in the sand in Townsville, Australia

So many dreams in Berlin

So many dreams in Berlin

Before I die in Jersey bringing neighbours together

Before I die in Jersey bringing neighbours together

Before I die Berlin

Before I die Berlin

Before I die I want to fly to the moon. Townsville, Australia.

Before I die I want to fly to the moon. Townsville, Australia.

To see more photos and more information about the project, click here > 

Before I Die Vancouver

small-world-big-dreams_blank.jpg

I'm happy to share that the first ever Small World Big Dreams event was a smashing success. Thank you to everyone who came out on Saturday, May 5th to help me install the Vancouver walls, and to those who helped fill the many blank spaces with your dreams. 

I'd like to share some of the photos of the Vancouver wall first (I'll be sharing the photos from the rest of the locations next week). I set up walls at two locations: one in an alley in Chinatown, the other on the corner of W Broadway and Macdonal in Kitsilano. The Chinatown wall is still up, and I hope it stays for as long as possible. Sadly, the Kitsilano wall disappeared a few days after it's installation. I'm choosing to believe that, rather than removed and thrown away, it was stolen by someone who loved it so much they had to have it.

The Chinatown Wall: 

photo: Erin Sinclair

photo: Erin Sinclair

nothing can happen without the help of friends

nothing can happen without the help of friends

Before I die I want to read every book on my shelf.

Before I die I want to read every book on my shelf.

small-world-big-dreams-vancouver_5.jpg

The Kitstilano Wall: 

Sadly, I have very few photos of this wall, as it disappeared shortly after it was installed. There were some fantastic responses though! 

Before I die I want to: 

  • communicate with aliens
  • steal my grandma's style
  • solve global warming
  • save an endangered species
  • count the stars
  • meet a pirate

small-world-big-dreams-vancouver_6.jpg
small-world-big-dreams-vancouver_7.jpg
Before I die I want to hug a bear.

Before I die I want to hug a bear.

To see more information about this project, please click here > 

Before I Die wall Vancouver prep

I am excited to announce that there will be two Vancouver locations for the upcoming Small World Big Dreams event tomorrow. The first location will be in Chinatown, in the alley behind 211 East Georgia Street. The second location will be at the corner of West Broadway and Macdonald.

 

The Chinatown location required that I build a structure to support the wall to ensure that no permanent damage would be done to the building. With the help of my brother (who also happens to be a carpenter) we used two-by-fours to frame up a temporary (and albeit, crude) wall. After attaching several sheets of plywood to the frame, we secured our new wall to the building using industrial grade zap straps.

vancouver before i die_before_1.jpg
a coat of primer on our 'wall' 

a coat of primer on our 'wall' 

chalkboard paint applied provides a very tempting surface for overnight vandals

chalkboard paint applied provides a very tempting surface for overnight vandals

Through Candy Chang's website, I ordered the Before I Die toolkit. It comes with a how-to guide, a stencil and a few other very useful items. Since I plan on making more than one wall, I wanted the mylar stencil as it's much more durable than paper. An added bonus was the letters of the smaller sentences were already cut out. You can also make your own stencils, if you prefer. The files are available for free download on the Before I Die website.

Image copyright © Candy Chang

Image copyright © Candy Chang

Now that the wall and stencils are prepared, all that's left to do is hope for sunshine tomorrow! Stay tuned for the 'After' photos! 

Before I Die wall project - Announcement

Image Copyright © Candy Chang

Image Copyright © Candy Chang

I've always loved the Before I Die project from artist Candy Chang. I find it so inspiring, not only for the incredible responses each wall receives, but also for the way it is created over time; impermanent and collaborative.

As a personal project, I am creating a global event to connect myself and friends around the world. I've done a lot of traveling, and as a result I've met some really amazing people. They would all love each other too, if they ever had the chance to meet. Could an event like this allow them to connect somehow and get to know one another?

Although technology makes the world seem small, sometimes the sheer physical distance between people seems vast and overwhelming. What if, by doing the same thing on the same day all over the world, my friends and I could transcend that physical distance? Would it feel almost as if we were together in the same place? What if myself and as many friends of mine as possible each made a Before I Die wall in our own community on the same day?

 

Map illustration: Sarah Clement

Map illustration: Sarah Clement

I'm calling the event Small World Big Dreams.  It will take place next month, on May 5th. With the support of Candy Chang, friends and I around the world will create as many Before I Die walls as possible. We will connect in a new global community while connecting with our own local communities in a very inspiring way. I hope we'll find the world is actually quite small and that we'll be witness to some pretty big dreams.

Stay tuned for more details coming soon. If you'd like to participate in this event, please contact me