— Jussi Kahlos, Heureka – The Finnish Science Center
We had the pleasure of producing two installations for the Finnish Science Center Heureka. The installations are a part of the new Heureka Goes Crazy exhibition. It runs at Heureka from 12 October 2013 to 21 September 2014 and then moves on to Lisbon and Paris.
The first exhibit: Are you afraid?
This exhibit is mainly targeted for young children. It deals with the topic of facing of fears and difficult things in a way that is familiar to children. It encourages to face these things as it makes you feel better. The installation is one of the most complex we have made so far and the effect it gives is fantastic!
The game content
“Are you afraid?” is an athletic, motion-based game, optimally for 1–3 players. The players are in a room which is staged as a forest. When the game has been started the projected forest appears on the walls and turns dark; the night has come. At the same time, shining pairs of eyes start appearing in different parts of the forest. They seem to belong to monsters.
The players’ aim is to touch and swipe these monsters, illuminate them, with their hands that act as flashlights. When a monster has been illuminated it turns out to be a familiar forest animal, for example a fox or an owl. The monsters appear on different heights on the wall. This encourages social gameplay as the monsters appearing higher are hard to reach for smaller children and they will need their parents’ help to succeed.
The game lasts for a minute; in the game from dusk till dawn. The players’ only aim is to survive until dawn, with points represented as stars.
Setup of the installation
The setup consists of three projected walls. Each wall has it’s own computer to project graphics and monitor the touch surface. The three computers communicate with a controller computer which runs the actual game. The installation has a six-channel sound to enhance the experience.
Graphics and sounds for this installation were produced by Heureka.
The second exhibit: Is it me?
This exhibit displays artistic work that shape the conceptions of madness in European cultures. It’s not just a painting but a piece of art that the visitor has a personal attachment to.
The visitor gets to see a famous painting – The Scream by Edvard Munch – that presents very strong feelings, symptoms similar to mental health disorder. The painting is shown on a screen that is framed like a real painting. At first, the visitor sees the painting as it is. Then, the visitor can see the face of the portrait changing; it changes to his/her own face. The effect is hilarious! The visitor can play and fool around with the painting for a short while.
The installation consists of a computer and a web camera. The face tracking is based on Kyle McDonald’s ofxFaceTracker, which is based on Jason Saragih’s FaceTracker library.