I looked at design I/O’s (Theo Watson and Emily Gobeille) interactive puppet installation called “Puppet Parade.” This project utilizes openFrameworks and Kinect to track a user’s hand movement and arm movement to control a projected bird.
I love the whimsy with which the birds and their environment are created in this project. The colors and shapes are lovely to look at, and I think, considering that this project is meant for children, they hit the nail on the stylistic head. However, the flip side to this artwork interacting with kids’ gesticulations is that the movement of the birds can often be quite jerky and uncomfortable (watch the video below, and you’ll see that nearly every kid is jumping up and down and waving their arms like Tigger after 3 bottles of 5-hr Energy. If they could have somehow found a way to smooth out that jerky movement, that would have improved the project. Additionally, I would love to see more interaction between the two bird being possible.
I think kids are an easy target for interactive art of this nature. Not that I’m saying there’s anything wrong with that — I applaud design I/O for recognizing that they have the perfect audience. But I a
lso think that interactive art has great potential to make a statement, as it incorporates the users into the artwork, and I’m not really seeing that in this piece.
Project Page (I love the last image on this page!)
I also found a video of Theo and Emily describing a prototype of their project. It has a bit more explication on how it works: