Creatures (2012/2013/2014). Interactive installation, performance with the audience. Beamer, laptop, ASCII decoder, moving and light capture software, flashlights.
The American Standard Code for Information Interchange ASCII is a character-encoding scheme originally based on the English alphabet. ASCII codes represent text in computers, communications equipment, and other devices that use text. Most modern character-encoding schemes are based on ASCII, though they support many additional characters.
The term is also used to refer to visual art in general based on text.
Still images or movies can also be converted to ASCII on various Linux and UNIX computers using graphics device driver, or some video players with Windows system, Linux or Mac OS X; all of these render the screen by using ASCII symbols instead of pixels.
The title of the project is an homage to the artificial life game Creatures made by Creature Labs for the Commodore 64 game. Creatures was created in the mid 90s by English computer scientist Steve Grand whilst working for the Cambridge video games developer Millennium Interactive.
It’s an interactive installation through a positioned camera, which catches and codifies in real-time people in front of the computer. The projected result will have a size 1:1, in order to recreate a real environment. People have the impression to be in front of a strange mirror that codifies and de-codifies them in a very funny way.
For the installation I will need and use an open source application, that generates in real-time a combination of ASCII art and other effects; this can be achieved by setting the computer in the origin, using input from a MacBook Pro’s camera.
The installation modifies the result of the effects during a day-long projection, thanks to the different power of the light that is caught by the camera. Doing so the responding effects change with more or less light.
I will leave next to the installation a series of Led flashlights. In case of using one of them to put a ray of light towards the computer the public will see some incredible games of dynamic letters and numbers on the projection in front of them. This is a real interactive experience!