Text Rain is a playful interactive installation that blurs the boundary between the familiar and the magical. Participants in the Text Rain installation use the familiar instrument of their bodies, to do what seems magical - to lift and play with falling letters that do not really exist. In the Text Rain installation participants stand or move in front of a large projection screen. On the screen they see a mirrored video projection of themselves in black and white, combined with a color animation of falling text. Like rain or snow, the text appears to land on participants' heads and arms. The text responds to the participants' motions and can be caught, lifted, and then let fall again. The falling text will land on anything darker than a certain threshold, and "fall" whenever that obstacle is removed.
The Liquid Time Series explores how the concept of 'point of view' is predicated on embodied existence. Initially, the piece was an attempt to create an interactive installation where users' physical positions in the gallery (tracked by an overhead camera) controlled different 'perspectives' in a collage-like projection. The result of this exploration, however, is a series of pieces in which imagery of time, as well as space, is disrupted by users' motions.
"Shifting Time – San Jose" is an interactive video installation that juxtaposes the past and present, where the viewer’s body becomes the interface to navigate between. In this piece, commissioned by the City of San Jose for the new terminal of the San Jose International airport, viewers encounter a projected still image. As they walk closer to the projection wall, the surface disrupts, pushing deeper into time in the pre-recorded video clips. Archival film footage blends with high-definition footage from the present, and viewers are able to travel back and forth through time by moving towards and away from the projection wall. Utterback’s software deconstructs the frame as the unit of playback, allowing multiple moments to appear simultaneously. This strategy speaks both to the possibilities of digital tools, and the dynamics of our fluid memories of places and moments in time.
Untitled 5 is the fifth interactive installation in the External Measures Series, which Utterback has been developing since 2001. The goal of these works is to create an aesthetic system which responds fluidly and intriguingly to physical movement in the exhibit space. The installations respond to their environment via input from an overhead video camera. Custom video tracking and drawing software outputs a changing wall projection in response to the activities in the space. The existence, positions, and behaviors of various parts of the projected image depend entirely on people's presence and movement in the exhibit area.