"Falling Over You" Interactive Wall

From February 1 to April 20, 2003, the Albright Knox Art Gallery is exhibiting "Frank Moore: Green Thumb in a Dark Eden".

"Falling Over You" is an interactive space set up in conjunction with the exhibit. For this space, we created a large scale interactive video environment that uses elements of Moore's paintings.

The exhibition includes paintings from Moore's "Niagara Falls" series. Since these are of particular local interest, the Gallery wanted the interactive space to be based on the Falls.

Our installation uses video footage of Niagara Falls, played back on a computer and displayed on a 20' x 9' screen at the far end of a room. As visitors enter the room, infra-red cameras detects their motion, and cause changes in the video image. Small objects from several of Moore's paintings appear to come over the falls, fly about past them, or grow in front of them. The different results are keyed to different regions of the room. If visitors step up close to the screen, the video image will part around them and their shadows, and reveal Moore's Niagara painting beneath the real-world video.

FallingOverYou.mov - video documentation of the installation. (92 Mbytes)


Technical Details

The installation runs on a dual-processor Linux PC, with a GeForce4 4600 graphics card and two ATI TV Wonder video input cards.

The video footage consists of five short loops, ranging from 7 to 25 seconds each. They were converted into a series of 512x512 compressed textures, so that the full 2100 frames can be preloaded into RAM and played back at a steady 30 frames per second.

The objects triggered by visitors' motions are 109 small elements from digitized copies of the paintings, with alpha channels added in Photoshop.

The parting of the video imagery is accomplished by making it into a particle system - rather than displaying the video texture on a single large square, it is split into 1500 small squares. Normally, these squares are evenly lined up to present a single image, and fall down the display in a continuous loop. When a visitor is seen by the camera pointed at the screen, the video particles bounce off of their detected positions (treated as a fairly gross blob), revealing the particle nature of the image, and uncovering bits of the underlying painting.

We presented a sketch on "Falling Over You" at SIGGRAPH 2003. The sketch is available at resumbrae.com/papers/siggraph03_sketch.pdf. The slides from the talk are at resumbrae.com/talks/siggraph03/.


Computer installation storyboard - Josephine Anstey, Dave Pape, Kathy Gaye Shiroki, Rich Cherry
Graphics & video hacking - Dave Pape
Video footage - Rich Cherry, & Tom Loonan
Image wrangling - Tracy Ortolano, Tony Kinsella, Josephine Anstey, Chris Galbraith, Michael J. Benner
Room construction - Albright-Knox Maintenance Crew
"Falling Over You" space designed by Kathy Gaye Shiroki
Paintings by Frank Moore

Last updated 26 October 2003.
Dave Pape UB Department of Media Study