Beautiful Interactive Sculpture

Parade – dancing shadow scuptures” (by Dpt.  Laurent Craste) is an interesting piece. At first sight appears to be a sort of puppet show, with two (odd) ceramic figures in a crate. But when a visitor makes the hanging lamp swing the projected shadows come to life with a complex and unexpected dance.


The effect is more than a little magical, more so as you realize that the shadow play is not the actual shadow of the figures in the lamplight—though the movement of the lamp surely triggers the shadow show.

In fact, the shadow dance is a computer projection and, though there is no way to really tell, the digital scene is controlled by real time sensing of the swinging lamp (using Kinnect™). Cool!

This work is labeled as an “interactive sculpture”, though it could equally be called a digital installation, or augmented reality. In other words, it is actually something new.

As Elias Zananiri remarks to  the Future of Story Telling,

By completely hiding the technology, our hope is to catch visitors off guard and surprise them when the vases’ shadows come to life; to create a moment of awe and wonder that seems almost magical.

Clearly, “completedly hiding the technology” is a key to the “magical” experience. But this isn’t the only thing, because even though I know how it works (or at least I know how all the pieces work) it is still magical. It’s really magical because it is lovely, surprising, and, as they say, “comes to life” with a little, mysterious story.  It’s a good story.

Beautiful work.

[Note:  No touch screen!]


Reference; Currenntly on display at the Museum of the Moving Image as part of the show titled “Sensory Stories: An Exhibition of New Narrative Experiences”


By Dpt. X Laurent Craste Produced by Dpt. Ceramics by Laurent Craste. 3-D Modeling by Mohannad AlKatib. 3-D Animation by Sébastien Léger. Parade is an interactive sculpture. Swinging a hanging lamp activates the shadows of two vases. The resulting scene unfolds as a dance or as combat. What appears as shadows are actually a video created in real time to match the movement of the lamp, which is detected by a Kinect sensor.

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