Growth: Art Installation Powered by Leap Motion

Imagine walking into a room and creating a virtual forest in the air. Earlier this month, Vermont-based artist Craig Winslow debuted Growth at SEABA’s South End Art Hop. The original 3D-projection mapping experience put control into the fingertips of onlookers, and garnered great feedback from participants. By using Leap Motion Controllers, Winslow gave people the power to move their hands in the air and manipulate digital vines, branches, and beams of light cropping up against a stark blue sky.

Growth is a project created to illustrate the daily personal impact we have upon our environment. Winslow says he used Leap Motion’s technology to bridge organic human input into the digital world.

“Embracing the natural way we would expect people to interact with the device, we made slow soothing movements augment lighting, while aggressive swipes brought in black recursive animations,” Winslow says. “Leap Motion amplified the story we were trying to tell, as the viewer’s human interaction contributed to impact dynamically on the installation.”

Light and color are the core mechanics at play in the piece. Winslow and his collaborators programmed color variance to be reactive to palm positioning – transforming the Leap Motion Controller into a powerful tool for color depth exploration. Dipping into blues and reds, “it was fascinating to disrupt the world until you reach a dystopian darkness, until your hand becomes the only light within a strong silhouette.”

image

Winslow also programmed the installation with discoverable gestures to encourage his audience to use their imaginations.

“The most powerful moment for me was seeing a mother and her two boys interact with complete awe. Once they knew they were in control of the experience, they waved their hands, wiggled their fingers – but in a very respectful way. It reminded me of a quote by Robert Irwin I was told near the beginning of the project, which influenced our intent more than I knew:

“‘You can’t plan nature; you court her.’”

The design concept behind Growth is one that Winslow and his collaborators would like to iterate and expand upon in the near future. They believe the Leap Motion interface carries huge potential for enabling human interaction to dance the line between the physical and the digital realms – to illuminate a world and modify its perceived reality.

You can learn more about Craig at craigwinslow.com.