Virtual Snow Angel
2010 - 2011
Virtual Snow Angel is an interactive multimedia installation whereas the experience of making a snow angel is simulated via a use-responsive projection, faux snow, and human movement. A series of events makes the whole thing work: the shaking of a mercury switch installed into a snowglobe triggers a series of programmed functions involving a projector, a web cam, and a little custom Max/MSP software. When a person moves around in the faux snow (the area recorded by the camera) in time with the rest of the automated electronic happenings, a time-lapsed composite of movement is created as an abstracted gray-scale figure-ground image and printed via a small shipping label printer. The sticker is a takeaway for the participant / snow-angel-maker and to be installed elsewhere.
As a broad concept, the piece intends to make playfulness more accessible. Though it has only been installed in fine art gallery contexts, I like to think of it as a prototype for a public installation. It was inspired by Everyday Urbanism and the idea that if there's investment in fancy gadgets used to penalize and issue parking tickets and stuff like that, why can't we invest more in public infrastructure that holds space for joy?
Shortly after an in-depth introduction to Rube Goldberg machines, I literally dreamt of this project and was lucky enough to remember it and actually make it work with the brilliant assistance of Barney Haines, Donald Day, and North Pitney.