[appropriating new tech] The Look
This is just to show a prototype for an installation project idea. The project is inspired by a section ” The Look ” in Jean-Paul Sartre’s book Being and Nothingness. The green ball in the video is tracking where the viewer that is watching this video clip is currently looking.
In this section, Sarte theorized that the state of being watched is a threat to the self. He described a scenario where a man is looking through a peeping hole into a room. He is watching all these “other” people as if he himself is separated from them. These other people are unconscious being to him. At this time, if he suddenly hears footsteps behind him that indicates someone is behind or approaching him, he all of a sudden realizes that he is being watched. His whole situation changed because he is now having an awareness that he is being seen. He is now, as described by Sarte, “being for others”.
I want this project to be an installation that will to some extent give viewers a similar experience. The installation involves having the participant look through two small holes in a black “wall”. First the user does calibration on his/her eyes for the system to us EyeOsc later. A video is playing for the user to watch. The video is a scene where a few people are just doing their own things, nothing much happening. Whenever the user looks at a person in the video, that person’s head turns to the user and stares at him.
I had a lot trouble with slow framerate (1 or 2 frames per second!!) and therefore massive delays and inaccuracy. The green circle is where the user’s eye is looking. This is probably because I have 3 movies playing at the same time, screen size. In fact I am not even playing all 6 clips which would then add reaction from every person in the video.
Calibration is difficult too. If the calibration is off, even by a small amount, the “person” in the video will react to “being watched” either too soon or too late.
I also want to put timers in so that the “staring back” is only triggered after you look at the same person for a little while.
The video needs to be much better quality too!
Lots of more work to do. I would like to develop this concept further and into an installation possibly.