Pollock In Action

February 6, 2007

“Pollock In Action” is an interactive installation to create drip paintings with light. It is part of the project “Art-Transforming” which was shown in the Kunsthaus Zürich on January 27th 2007.

Pollock In Action
„When painting, I’m in the image“, so Jackson Pollock. „The image has a life of its own“. He dripped, splattered color onto the canvas in fluid, dance-like motions. Not having a final image in mind. On the images actions took place, nothing was illustrated.
„Pollock in action“ tries to re-interpret Pollocks style of painting with new technologies. Projected light replaces the fluid colors. The movements of the brush are captured with a camera and a computer. Combining this data with accelerometers in the brush gives an motion sequence, which gets translated into drippings.
Like he said, Jackson Pollocks images didn’t have a beginning nor an end. He was never afraid to change, transform or destroy his image.


Video Tracking:
An old Sony Handycam in Nightshot-mode, an infrared filter and a infrared LED in the brush made it easy to track the brightest pixel in the image.

Paint buckets:
To sense when the brush is in the paint bucket I used very sensitive pressue/touch sensors.
An Arduino microcontroller board () is connected to the USB-port of the computer (serial) and sends the bucket information.

The brush:
Made from wood, filled with: an Arduino Mini, an EasyRadio RF transceiver to communicate with the computer, an accelerometer to sense to movements of the brush, 2 RGB-LEDs to glow in many colors, an infrared LED to be seen by the camera, and a battery-pack (4x 1,5V AAA, lasted >6h).

The computer is attached to another EasyRadio Transceiver keep in touch with the brush. The RF module was connected to USB via a serial/usb converter. The computer sends the chosen color to the brush, and the brush answers with the accelerometer data.

Made with Processing. Video Tracking, communications and visualization run all in the same Processing sketch. Actionpainting algorithm partly taken from Stamen, Splatter http://stamen.com/projects/splatter,
©2003 Michal Migurski, Stamen Design and translated from Actionscript to Java/Processing by me. I modified the splatter code so it could react on accelerometer data.

Download “Pollock In Action” Processing Sketch

Screenshot of the sketch in debug mode:

Interaction Design @hgkz
Art Transforming Project Website
Kunsthaus Zürich
Stamen Design

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