• Written: Barcelona
    Date: January 2009
    Topic: Metamembrana Catalog
    Work: Metamembrana

Metamembrana is an interactive installation that has been produced with groups, institutions and individuals in five Catalonian cities: Olot, Reus, Granollers, Lleida and Barcelona. The installation will be exhibited simultaneously in the five cities with five exact replicas. Formally the installation consists of a large-scale projection in 16:3 format, comprising four projectors showing the same image about 12 metres wide. In front of this screen there are four interfaces: a face capture interface in the shape of a little cabin made of wood; a printed mat with drawings that conceal four on/off sensors; a microphone that can either function as an on/off sensor or a range sensor, and a rather severe looking anthropomorphic interface with a joystick nose and on/off sensors in the chest and hands. A MIDI device controls the four interfaces allowing them to be turned on and off, and illuminating them when they are in use. A broad range of software and hardware interactive devices has been developed during the Membrana project, enabling the spectator to control the graphic animations, video and sound.

Metamembrana comprises a content network organised in three layers: landscape, dynamic and panoramic. Landscape consists of an animated graphic landscape that functions as an index of the work. The picture is based on an 8 metre long polychrome mural. This layer contains five images fed by webcams installed in each location; several videos that show the accelerated production process of the mural that come on automatically, and algorithmic animations triggered by the sound of radios. This layer is sensitive to all the interfaces. The dynamic layer contains two interactive interfaces: Guiñol, which is linked to the face capture interface and Instrumento which is linked to the anthropomorphic interface. Guiñol is a sequential interface that is triggered when the spectator places her/his face in the opening of the house and shouts; the face is captured immediately and becomes an animation that is superimposed on the screen character. Instrumento has two animated faces – a woman and a man – that produce sounds and are deformed by handling the nose/joystick and the on/off sensors. This musical instrument is connected to all the locations enabling a network of polyphonic sounds.

The panoramic layer contains five interactive films produced in each location. These films are triggered by the mat and microphone interfaces and each interface has two uses. The mat interface enables the selection of the panoramic film; shouting in the microphone presents the local panoramic film and by stepping on each of the four sensors in the mat, the user will be able to see the panoramic films in the other locations. Once the panoramic video sequence has been activated, the second function becomes available: the mat enables the shot to be changed and the microphone introduces the visual effects. The panoramic videos are short – around 90 seconds – and once the film has ended, it is turned off leaving the landscape visible.