Balloons is the next step in my exploration of identity that started with Tart Yellow Kisses. Specifically, what happens when a person takes on an new identity?

Balloons was commissioned by fervente comics for their launch event on 3 March 2012 at Panke Art Space in Berlin, Germany. Dadatek produced the event and introduced fervente comics to me. The comic artists have a wonderful assortment of characters. We found a great collaboration was possible between me bringing their characters to life and their characters providing a temporary identity to others. Together we collaborated on everything from the character drawings to the color of both the real and virtual balloons.

I have found that when playful characters, like those of fervente, are taken on by people, that they tend to directly relate to them. Some going as far as seeing them as oracles of their future self. I often see people unshackling themselves from the confines of their usual public identity; being able to freely express themselves and play as children. I have a great deal of interest in further exploring these areas.

Balloons is an original interactive video installation created using the following:

  • Cycling 74 Max was used as the main development platform; its physics engine was used to simulate the characters and the dynamics of the balloons; its support for OpenGL enabled real-time 3D graphics with lighting and transparency
  • Microsoft Kinect was the sensor used to see and model the participants.
  • Microsoft Visual C++ Express was used to make a custom Max extension (DLL) which exposed the Kinect’s data to the Max environment. This extension is similar to the open source version that I have written for OpenNI.
  • Original artwork was provided by fervente comics.

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