Sundance New Frontiers 2010 and a Banksy sighting

I ran up to Park City for the Sundance Festival and to photograph an art installation, the Cloud Mirror by Eric Gradman. On the way down Main Street, I looked to my right and saw some new street art by Banksy which was pretty darned cool. He was apparently in town as part of a documentary on him titled “Exit Through the Gift Shop”.

Onto the topic at hand, New Frontier is an area at Sundance that allows artists to explore experimental film in a manner that may not fit the true definition of cinema. However, New Frontier is also a social space that allows folks to discuss convergence of technologies that relate to cinema. There were a number of projects present, but the one I came up to see was the Cloud Mirror.

The point of the Cloud Mirror is to search out information on the Internet about visitors and merge that information with a real time image of the person on an LCD screen in front of them using computer vision to augment reality. You see yourself reflected back live, in person on the LCD screen in front of you with a thought bubble out of a comic book superimposed next to your head displaying all sorts of information that can be dug up through the Internet. The Cloud Mirror searches Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, IMDB, sex offenders databases and displays activities, relationship status, your favorite movies, books, music, any status updates you post etc…etc…etc… along with snarky comments.

It really is great fun and potentially a little embarrassing, but totally worth a visit if you find it at the BIL conference, TEDActive, Mindshare or any other place where it might show up. Eric is an interesting guy who is currently working on development of robotics for some undisclosed folks, but he plans to get back to Los Angeles and really start exploring technological interfaces. I can’t wait to see more of what he is up to.

Before I left, I had a quick chance to see a couple of the other art installations, one of which was an interactive Google Maps feature projected onto the ground. You selected directional arrows and zoom by pointing with your feet. An example movie is here in HD (193MB).

The other installation I quickly saw before having to leave was a little more unclear to me. It was interesting sure, and I loved it as everyone has a fascination with real life in a jar I suppose… They also had small projections inside the mini hotel and liquor store of scenes from movies or life that drew you in a little more. A movie of the street is here in HD (215 MB).

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