October 1, 2005

The Digital Meets the Facial

by Nick Montfort · , 3:32 am

Arthur Elsenaar of IAAA Last night at the Slought Foundation I saw two very interesting pieces for computer-controlled human face, by Arthur Elsenaar and Remko Scha of the IAAA (Institute of Artificial Art Amsterdam). The two did a piece involving face interface which opened the 1997 Ars Electronica Festival.

At Slought, Elsenaar (pictured) and Scha did two pieces, the first involving more uniformly random stimulation of muscles, the second taking the muscle groups in the two sides of the face through a sequence of stimulations that is slightly out of phase, so that they begin and end in similar movements but move smoothly through asymmetrical movements, more widely spaced in time and then less widely spaced, in between. Computer voice accompanied the electrical stimulation of Elsenaar’s face in both pieces. Scha explained afterwards that the pieces are envisioned collaboratively and that while particular sequences of electrical impulses are entirely computer-controlled, he does intervene to manage the overall timing of the two pieces, since it isn’t obvious in advance how long certain sequences should run, and different audiences may react differently.