Back in July, the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo in Japan displayed a giant canvas showing four snowmen in a wintry scene. People approaching the canvas found their faces superimposed onto the heads of the four snowmen, so that their facial expressions determined the mood of the scene.
The installation, called Yukinko, proved popular and ran until the end of August with an estimated 100,000 visitors.
This installation was unusual because, unlike other interactive artworks, anybody could by a copy to run at home. That’s a potentially significant money spinner for the museum and the artists Mayuko Kanazawa and a couple of pals from Osaka University.
While it is common for museums to sell prints and posters of conventional works of art, this has never been possible with interactive art because of the unique technology it often relies on.
Kanazawa and co get around this with a simple approach. The technology that powers their installation is an iPhone 5c mounted behind the canvas with its camera peering through a pinhole. It uses conventional face recognition software to pick out the faces of anybody nearby and then sends the pictures to a projector. This beams the faces onto the canvas.
Kanazawa and co have made all this available as an iPhone app costing 99c. So anybody can run a similar installation in their living room. The paper referenced below provides some technical pointers about how best to set it up.
What Kanazawa and co don’t say is how many of these apps they’ve sold and how much they’ve made for themselves and the museum.
Nevertheless, that’s an interesting idea that has the potential to change the “business model” behind modern art and modern art museums.
Ref: arxiv.org/abs/1411.2190 : Interactive Art To Go
The big new idea for making self-driving cars that can go anywhere
The mainstream approach to driverless cars is slow and difficult. These startups think going all-in on AI will get there faster.
Inside Charm Industrial’s big bet on corn stalks for carbon removal
The startup used plant matter and bio-oil to sequester thousands of tons of carbon. The question now is how reliable, scalable, and economical this approach will prove.
The hype around DeepMind’s new AI model misses what’s actually cool about it
Some worry that the chatter about these tools is doing the whole field a disservice.
The dark secret behind those cute AI-generated animal images
Google Brain has revealed its own image-making AI, called Imagen. But don't expect to see anything that isn't wholesome.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.