Kinect Enables Virtual Graffiti

<p>Further digital adventures in the art of tagging.</p>

Mar 3 2011, 5:20pm

Scrawling images and words on private property has been a popular pastime for quite some time. In the well-preserved ruins of Pompeii you can find bawdy remarks, boasts, jokes, and much more etched on the walls of the bars, barracks, and houses immortalized in the ash. Even those paleolithic cave paintings in Spain and France weren’t undertaken with anyone’s permission. Over the centuries, the methods used in this long and noble tradition have evolved with the technological developments of the day. Just as the primitive paint brushes used to create those beautiful cave paintings eventually evolved into spray cans, stencils, posters, and stickers, so too has the humble spray can been updated with lazers, projections, LEDs, augmented reality, 3D modeling, and even crazy eye-tracking writing implements. And now, with graffiti inhabiting virtual space as well as the physical space, the Kinect emerges as the newest graffiti-making implement.

Interactive designer Jean-Christophe Naour is developing a motion tracking Kinect Graffiti Tool, but rather than a device that just tracks hand movement—like Evan Roth’s Graffiti Analysis 2.0 or DSP’s 3D painting installation [Z]ink, both precursors and perhaps sources of inspiration for this project—it tracks the whole body’s movement, taking its aesthetic reference from that luminous form of graffiti: light painting. In the video above you can see trails of motion tracking the physical gestures behind the act of tagging like a long exposure photograph would track the actions of a light painter.

As it’s a work in progress, it’ll be interesting to see what visuals get produced and how these may be tweaked and shaped by future coders. In the initial experiments above it looks like a video game character unleashing some supernatural force, looking like not just a tracking tool but a rudimentary virtual performance piece, too.

[via Creative Applications]