Digital Graffiti Project

Over the past two months BMAG has played host to a four day digital graffiti project involving Nikki Pugh (project lead), Dr Gretchen Larson (research academic from Kings College London) and Ben Eaton (the technical specialist from Invisible Flock).

The aim of the project was to use interactive digital technology within a gallery space in order to understand if and how it can be used as a channel to express an audiences’ voice.

Two types of technology were used in the project; the first was Graffiti Research Lab’s L.A.S.E.R. Tag system and the second was an alternative system using a Kinect sensor outputted with Processing. Both systems required slightly different user interactions either with a laser pen or own hand and each produced different end results which were projected onto gallery walls and artwork. The L.A.S.E.R. Tag created sharper lines with a paint drip affect while the Kinect system produced more fluid curved lines.

The first few days of the project were spent testing the L.A.S.E.R. Tag system in a variety of galleries within BMAG. This system required the participant to draw with a laser pen onto an area of the gallery and the results were projected back onto the wall.

L.A.S.E.R. Tag system in gallery 10

L.A.S.E.R. Tag system in action. Image by Nikki Pugh on Flickr.

Visitors to the gallery had the opportunity to use the technology themselves and it was interesting to see how people interacted with system and space.

The L.A.S.E.R Tag system

The L.A.S.E.R Tag system.

By the end of day three the technology was becoming slightly temperamental so for the final day an alternative system using a Kinect sensor was used.

The Kinect system required the participant to use their own hand to draw onto an area and again the results were projected back.  This system produced more fluid lines than the L.A.S.E.R tag system but without the paint drip affect.

The Kinect system was just as engaging for participants but it also developed its own unpredictable problem (it didn’t detect a couple of people’s hand movements) and unfortunately there wasn’t time to explore what may have caused this problem.

Kinect system projected onto Man and his Sheep by Ana Maria Pacheco

The Kinect system projected onto Man and his Sheep by Ana Maria Pacheco

Technical issues aside, it has been interesting to see the two types of technology in action and visitors seemed to be intrigued by the technology and enjoyed being involved in the project.

Nikki, Gretchen and Ben are now analysing their findings and will be reporting back to us and Kings College London, but overall the project found that there is potential with both systems with further testing and refinement.

For more detailed information on the project please see Nikki’s blog posts.

Ria Frate

Digital Content Officer at Birmingham Museums.

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