Alter Ego Installation shot - FILE ‘07, SESI Art Gallery, Sao Paolo, Brazil
Interactive computer installation. Dimensions variable: approx 2.5m x 4m.
Alter Ego is an interactive installation that investigates the familiar sense of being outside of (beside) oneself, and plays with the experience of a loss of control over an aspect of the self. Using a computer to produce a semi-autonomous replica of the person sitting in front of it, Alter Ego invites the individual user to question the various facets of their identity.
In the installation, a stool with a curved black screen behind it is placed in front of what appears to be a mirror hanging on a wall. After sitting still for a few seconds in front of the screen, the system will automatically capture the user’s image and reorganise a stored 3D model to look like him/her. The image in the virtual mirror, which looks curiously like, but not quite like, the user will mimic his or her facial expressions. Then after about 30 seconds, as though a part of the individual has escaped into the mirror, the avatar will take on a life of its own.
The interface is designed to be automatic and invisible - it requires no conscious intervention (such as button pushing/touch screen etc). Alter Ego has a secondary audience comprised of those people who have already used the work, or who are waiting to use it, and who are discussing their ‘performance’.
Alter Ego was made in collaboration with Professor Alf Linney at University College London. the project was supported by Arts Council England Touring and an Impact Award from the Wellcome Trust.