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Prix 1987 - 2007

ORF Oberösterreich

Kinoetic Evolution
Loren Carpenter

In Loren Carpenter's project "Kinoetic Evolution", each member of the audience is given a "wand". On a large video screen in front of the audience they can play ping- pong or create patterns and shapes with given geometric forms.

The intention of "Kinoetic Evolution" is to explore the creative potential of an activated collective group intelligence. Audiences are far too often passive absorbers of others' ideas. The capability of a focused, in control, audience is a vast new territory for exploration.

We necessarily begin with simple, fun games to train participants in the operation of the system, for example, ping-pong variants and flying an aeroplane. Their tasks become more complex and rewarding, finally leading them toward the goal of creating pleasing organic geometric forms never seen.before. The creative process proceeds jointly, with the computer creating new forms from old, and the audience selecting the forms it wants to see developed.

The creation process is as follows: the audience is shown several images of simple forms (cylinder, cube, sphere, etc.). Each member of the audience is given a small reflective device, called a 'wand', consisting of an approximately 3 x 20 cm piece of wood or stiff cardboard or plastic, with retroreflective tape affixed to opposite sides of one end. The reflective tape is typically red on one side of the wand and green on the other side.

Audience members hold their wands comfortably in either hand so the reflective end is approximately at eye level. They can see the video screen directly ahead and their wand, off to one side. One or more video cameras are positioned so as to cover the entire audience from behind. There is a lamp next to each camera so that when the lamp is turned on, the camera sees an image consisting of reflected dots. The camera's video signal is analysed in real time to determine the colour of everyone's reflector. This information is used to control the computer making the protected video images.

The audience uses the wands to choose the two forms they wish to combine. There are a number of ways the wands can be used to accomplish this. We can have amoving pointer and they can vote for their favourite, or we can show the forms one at a time and they can vote, and so on. Once the two forms are chosen, the computer creates six new forms. This should be quite fast, probably less than two seconds. The audience then chooses two new forms to combine. Forms often become more complex with each succeeding generation, resulting in amazingly beautiful, intricate, organic shapes.

The computational components of the system consist of a Silicon Graphics Indigo computer and a specially configured image processing computer. The Indigo produces the video signal which is viewed by the audience. The image processor analyses the camera's video signal and passes the results to the Indigo. The Indigo is controlled by a human operator who selects which programme to run, and manages the operation of the system. Generally, the operator can intervene if the audience is in need of assistance.

HW: SGI Indigo and Custom Image Processor
SW: Artist's Proprietary