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Lunar Surface – Drawing digital mass in physical space

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Created by Seoul based art and design studio Kimchi and Chips, Lunar Surface is the latest in the series of projects by Elliot Woods and Mimi Son investigating digital light as a semi-material to articulate digital visual mass in physical space.

In this project, a vertical flag of fabric is stroked by the wind, displaced by curves of air pressure, swinging back and forth. As it sweeps, it extrudes a trail of light which draws a moon floating in space. Long exposure photography captures this invisible dimension of space, extruding the moon into existence on a set of unique photographic prints.

The system takes the Kinect-Projector calibration from Elliot’s Kinect Hadouken routine from 3 years ago with some minor adaptations. To calibrate, a checkerboard is projected onto the flag, and the Kinect learns the shape of the projection by watching the projected checkerboard pattern as the flag moves in the wind. A projector and kinect are positioned to cover the flag whilst the flag is allowed to flow freely in the wind. The exposures were taken between 10 and 30 seconds in length. See the video below.

Using VVVV, the projected image is computed in a fragment shader, which takes in the 3D position of each projected pixel, and then renders a lit sphere on the projector output. Generally a circle is presented, whilst the thickness of the circle is modulated along its circumference to indicate the effect of lighting onto the sphere. The vvvv path relies on VVVV.Packs.Image plugin Elliot wrote for computer vision in VVVV.

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The depth aliasing of the Kinect camera can be seen in the rings which emerge towards the back of the sphere. This ‘Aesthetic of Error’ renders the personality of the Kinect into physical space, literally printing its resolution limits into the air.

The work is seen as the first edition of the project. The duo have ideas for more wind type paintings using different materials. In the meantime, if you are interested in the limited edition prints of Lunar Surface, please get in touch with Kimchi and Chips.

Project Page | Kimchi and Chips

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  • Evan Boehm

    probably my favorite project from resonate this year. Awesome work.