For the Summer Olympics of 2012, Nicholas Haagensen and I designed this interactive installation within a larger scenography by Trivial Mass for the International Olympic Committee. The brief was to present the International Olympic Committee activities to athletes, volunteers, press and support staff. These activities range from development, to anti-doping and corruption, tolerance and diversity training, promotion of the Olympic Museum, and so on. Our goal was to greet these different groups and show them through an interactive wall how they play a role in the larger framework of the IOC.

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Mashing up several movement, body and face detection libraries, I developed a system that tracked people of various heights and proposed taking their picture once they had entered into range. While this might seem a somewhat trivial task, remember that the shortest athletes (gymnasts, it turns out), the tallest athletes (basketball, what else), and all the ranges in-between, were represented at the games. Once I had found their face and lit it with an Arduino-controlled lighting system, an animated representation of Pierre de Coubertin appeared on-screen and offered to take a picture of their face. A few snapshots later and this face was integrated into into an animated persona which could be selected from one the photographs. This persona was then sent over to the animation engine, which mapped the faces onto a series of animated films.

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The entire process of facial animation was adaptive: each face was basically transformed into a marionnette that I could then coerce into various expressions: happy, sad, talking, crying, shouting, celebrating, and ashamed. A press photographer could look disapprovingly while photographing an athlete taking bribes or selling medical information. Another athlete could appear shocked when learning they or a fellow athlete had contracted HIV.

While some of the subjects, such as those relating to intolerance, were obviously quite grave, the overall tone was designed to be fairly humorous and to provoke a dialogue with little to no worded descriptions.