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« Inspired Imagery (Virtual Exhibition #3) | Main | Many More Than 9 Lives - 638 To Be Exact »

August 07, 2006


The software that interprets the viewer's facial expression makes the determination of the viewer's mood by examining factors like position/shape of the mouth, openness of the eyes and angle of the brows. These would be independent of race and ethnicity, I think. More details at Bath Univ. website

Looking closer at the sample photos that trigger the changes, what I would really like to know is how well the software interprets subtler changes in the physiognomy. Not everyone who is unhappy, angry or sad goes about with as exaggerated a demeanour as the example photos indicate! If I had a neutral facial expression, with sadness indicated by very slight changes in the mouth/eyes, would the art change accordingly?

"[A] novel interactive artistic experience": not quite. It's novel inasmuch as we don't expect machines to gauge our emotions, nor do we expect inanimate objects to morph accordingly. But interactive artistic experiences are common. Consider live performances of certain kinds of music (say, punk rock or highly improvisational jazz, rather than a classical string quartet) in which a feedback loop between the audience and the performers emerges. The audience's growing excitement stimulates the performers to intensify the performance, and so on.

I wouldn't expect the software to be terribly subtle - not yet anyway. Although I don't know. That is why I asked the question about differences in color, culture etc. For example, can it read changes in the expression in a very dark face or a more stoic Asian visage rather than the more clearly expressive face as shown? I doubt it.

I guess they mean in classical visual art like paintings and sculpture where the object for viewing is set in stone, as it were . Music, street theater etc. of course have been interactive for ages. In Indian classical music for example, often the tabla player and the musician (both vocal and instrumental) would try to trick each other into missing a beat. This often becomes a theater of wits between the two, with much hilarity and excitement from the audience.

I guess with computer technology entering the realm of art, we can expect more and more gimmicks. Perhaps one day we can choose a desirable ending for the movies we watch - much like the quest video games.

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