Back to:
last page

Prix 1987 - 2007

Ars Electronica Linz & ORF Oberösterreich

Zachary Lieberman

drawn presents a whimsical scenario in which painted ink forms appear to come to life, rising off the page and interacting with the very hands that drew them. Inspired by early filmic “lightning sketches,” in which stop-motion animation techniques were used to create the illusion of drawings escaping the page, drawn presents a modern update: custom-developed software augments a video signal in real time, creating a seamless, organic and even magical world of spontaneous and improvised performance of hand and ink.

The interface is simple: a table holds the paper, ink and brushes a performer uses to draw. A camera positioned above the table captures the scene and this seemingly “live” image is projected for the audience to observe. This projected image is not entirely unadulterated—custom software works as an intermediary step between the camera and projection, performing complex analysis of the video image and augmenting the image in real-time with synthetic graphics. The result is a hybrid video signal, combining both factual and fictional pixels in order to create an artificial but entirely believable world in which hand-drawn gestures appear to have a mind of their own.

In the performance version, drawn presents a duet between Lieberman, performing live augmented drawing, and Pardon Kimura, performing analog synthesizer and effects. The central aim is an exploration of an extremely nuanced relationship between animated drawing and sound, where the sketches, doodles, and gestures mix together with the sonic environment in order to create a dense and lively musical form. The result is a playful and enigmatic landscape in both image and sound.

In the installation version, visitors are invited to become performers themselves, learning quickly how to utilize the system in order to paint and then tap, nudge and poke the ink across the paper. The work extends the performance software with a simple, intuitive interface, allowing for easy operation, and a rear projection screen which serves as an novel intermediary device, creating both a private space for performers to work in, and public space for observers. Throughout the course of the exhibit, the walls are filled with participants’ drawings, creating an increasingly thick tapestry of ink forms. In both the installation and the performance version, drawn delights with simple truths: the musicality and immediacy of drawing, and the playful joy of magic.

drawn was commisioned by Harvestworks with the support of the New York State Council on the Arts. Special thanks to Medialab Madrid.