“Body Paint” by Memo Akten is an interactive installation – a visual instrument – allowing users to paint on a virtual canvas with their body, interpreting movements, gestures, and dance into evolving compositions. Its purpose is not to create a new interface for creating static paintings, but a more natural way of creating, directing, and performing moving images in real time, with focus on the interaction experience. What matters is not the painting created at the end, but the sensation one experiences while using it and reacting in real time to their own creation as it evolves. Our body is a vessel for emotional expression. When we talk, we move with our whole body. The more excited we get, the more involved and passionate we are with what we are saying, the more animated we get. “Body Paint” taps into this, our natural instinct to express ourselves with full body movement and dance, and combines it with our subconscious desire to create – even more so, our desire to create something beautiful. The installation has been shown in various events, galleries, and festivals across the world, including the Decode exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK; Lovebytes Code: Craft at the Millenium Gallery, Sheffield, UK; Le Cube Festival, Paris, France; Exhibit Festival, Venice, Italy; Flussi Festival, Italy; and Vigo Transforma, Spain. The interaction is simple, movement creates paint. Hidden in the simplicity are layers of subtle details. Different aspects of the motion: size, speed, acceleration, curvature, all have an effect on the outcome: strokes, splashes, drips, spirals; and is left up to the users to play and discover. The installation is designed to work with any number of people and is scalable to cover small or large areas. While the installation is suitable for a single user, when multiple users are present a new dynamic emerges. A user-to-user interaction is born when the audience starts playing with each other via the installation, throwing virtual paint on each other, trying to complete or destroy each other’s paintings.
Memo Akten is a visual artist, musician and engineer who works at the intersection of art and technology. In developing and appropriating new technologies, he explores processes of visualizing the invisible extracting and amplifying the unseen relationships within images, space, movement, sound, and time. His work ranges from live music/dance/theatre performances, large-scale immersive interactive installations and music videos to online works and mobile applications. Selected exhibitions and performances include Victoria & Albert Museum (London), Royal Festival Hall (London), Creators Project (New York, Sao Paulo, Beijing), Holon Museum (Tel Aviv), Garage Center for Contemporary Culture (Moscow), Sydney Biennale, Aldeburgh Music Festival, Edinburgh Film Festival, Mapping Festival (Geneva) and more.