Gallery 2

Recollections IV

Multimedia technology is used create an interactive science-art exhibit.

How it works

Move, shake it or dance in front of a camera that detects your motion, and then draws colourful patterns made from your image onto a large screen.

Things to try or ask around the exhibit

  • What happens if we stand still?
  • Are the people on the other side of the screen seeing the same images, or something different?


Recollections IV is a science-art exhibit developed by Ed Tannenbaum.

This is how it works:

  1. LEDS on a video camera emit light.
  2. The light hits the screen behind you. This retro-reflective screen is similar to street signs and reflects light back to the video camera.
  3. Your body makes a silhouette for the camera.
  4. Signals about your silhouette travel to a computer that records the timing of each silhouette and assigns colours to them.
  5. The computer program runs through a sequence of different effects, such as colours, symmetries and silhouette outlines.
  6. A video projector displays the programmed silhouettes onto the screen in front of you.

The screen is translucent, so people on the other side can watch your creations too!

Finding the science in your world

Science-artworks often use multimedia technology to create interactive science-art installations.

Music videos sometimes use technology similar to this exhibit's technology to create artistic dancing figures on the screen.

Researchers use a similar silhouette technology to videotape people walking around a room, to study how other people judge that person's gait, age, gender and confidence level, based on how their silhouette moves.