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Cell: Where art meets the Xbox 360 Kinect

Originally commissioned for the Alpha-ville 2011 (opens in new tab) post-digital festival, Cell is an interactive art installation (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab) and Keiichi Matsuda (opens in new tab), 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 (opens in new tab) from the beginning and even introduced James Alliban and Keiichi Matsuda to Simon Hamilton Ritchie of Brighton-based developers Matchbox Mobile (opens in new tab), 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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