Computer ArtsNews

Cell: Where art meets the Xbox 360 Kinect

Alpha-ville 2011: interactive exhibit creates fake social media identities

Originally commissioned for the Alpha-ville 2011 post-digital festival, Cell is an interactive art installation that holds up a virtual mirror to the way we like to project ourselves on social media websites like Facebook and Twitter.

The installation works by capturing the physical attributes of visitors entering the space using four Kinect for Microsoft Xbox 360 cameras. Skeletal data from each visitor is then tagged with random identities gleaned from social media websites and displayed on a digital mirror the visitors can see.

The aim of Cell, created by James Alliban and Keiichi Matsuda, is to make visitors to the installation aware of the white and not-so-white lies we all tell to make ourselves appear better than we actually are.

Microsoft lent full support to the Cell project from the beginning and even introduced James Alliban and Keiichi Matsuda to Simon Hamilton Ritchie of Brighton-based developers Matchbox Mobile, who supplied the ofxMSKinect openFrameworks add-on the pair needed to realise their artistic vision.

Writing about Cell's appearance at Alpha-Ville 2011 on his blog, James Alliban said:

"We were very pleased with the reaction to Cell. The feedback from the festival goers was really positive. It was important to us that the participants were both interested in the concept and taken by the experience. Many that we spoke to seemed to engage with the piece on both levels."

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