Art-i is an interactive installation exhibited at the 2012 Vivid Festival in Sydney, Australia. Art-i explores subliminal imagery through colour, form, & texture. The public were invited to explore these themes by painting digital canvas's using body & hand movements.

During the 18 day festival, 94 hours and 46 minutes of interaction led to 2843 artworks being created.

When a new user (or users) begins painting a digital canvas, the settings randomise for the brushes, shapes, textures, etc, and a frame from an old Disney movie/cartoon is selected as the source material. Over the next 2 minutes, every colour is carefully (or randomly) interpreted into the abstract forms and textures generated by the user/s.

Upon completion, the finished digital painting is emailed to the user and uploaded to Facebook and the the Art-i website. Along with the artwork, an accompanying message describes which Disney movie or cartoon their artwork was interpreted from.

“Subliminal stimuli are any sensory stimuli below an individual’s threshold for conscious perception. Studies shows that subliminal stimuli activate specific regions of the brain despite participants being unaware”.

Visual subliminal messages can also be categorised as static or dynamic. Dynamic subliminal messages are usually flashed quickly at regular intervals, whilst static subliminal messages have a persistent appearance but are not consciously paid attention to by the viewer. A common technique of many generative artists is to source the colours from a selected image and update any programmed visuals (shapes, patterns, etc) with the selected colour palette.

Disney has been notorious for using subliminal messages in their films and cartoons. For example. if you have a good look at the cover of The Little Mermaid, you may be suprised to see hidden erotica in the background. For that reason, along with their recognisability, “feel-good” stories, and beautiful colour pallettes, old Disney movies and cartoons were selected as the theme for source material.

Common generative techniques, such as colour sampling, can be forms of static subliminal imagery.

Made with Openframeworks and OpenNI. Source code for this project is quite messy, but I intend on releasing all the code soon. An iPad app installed on site (also built in Openframeworks) was created to capture user details for emailing the creations and informational purposes.

I also created a handy OSC GUI addon ofxTouchGUI-, which was great for remote controlling different aspects of the installation on the fly, and creating the iPad app.

Special thanks to my collaborator Grant Whitehouse.

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