Orit Zuckerman’s memory machines

August 9, 2006

Orit Zuckerman‘s “Moving Portraits” — animated photographs that interact through gesture with the viewer — are bold statements about memory and technology. Zuckerman’s site describes how one of these portraits — essentially a slim LCD screeen connected (wirelessly, it appears) to a computer — at first looksto be a picture of a little girl covering her eyes. But if the viewer looks long enough, the little girl starts peeking out, eventually smiling. If the viewer leaves, the little girl in the portait again covers her eyes.

Equally exciting are Zuckerman’s multi-portrait arrays that interact with each other. Like David Rokeby’s seminal (n)chant, what we have here is essentially a network of autonomous software agents interacting with one another. But where (n)chant used words and sounds (and the influence of the viewer) as the medium for the software agents to interact with one another, Zuckerman uses her moving portrait technology to create “…an interactive artwork visualizing how collective behavior emerges from decentralized interaction in a small social network.”

Recently, Zuckerman has been experimenting with haptic systems such as TapTap (with Leonardo Bonanni, Jeff Lieberman, and Cati Vaucelle), a scarf that “allows nurturing human touch to be recorded, broadcast and played back.”

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