[ISEA2019] Artist Statement: Matthew Mosher – Secrets of the Dark

Artist Statement

Computer, GameTrak, Max7 Code, projector, Purple Heart, Red Heart, speakers, USB camera, 300x300x300 cm.

Secrets of the Dark manifests both audio and visual noise in harmony with each other. Participants can manipulate visual effects on a projected live video stream by using the custom dual joystick interface in this artwork. The system rewards large hand gestures with increased prismatic video distortion. At the same time, these tangible inputs also drive an FM synthesizer that compliments the visual noise with scrumbly audio. From a distance, the projections and sounds draw people in, often enticed by seeing abstract representations of themselves. At this range, many people can engage with the work simultaneously, while at a more intimate scale, one person can play the interface for the gathered audience. By combing these elements the installation allows people to transform the world around them into one of colorful kaleidoscopic light through expressive movement.
The interface is born of a hacked GameTrak controller embedded in a purple- heart wooden box. Exotic woods were used to mirror colors found at the extreme end of the digital video filters. The interface leverages craftsmanship, traditional methods, and warm materials not often found in digital projects. This materiality both invites people in and juxtaposes the high tech with tangible forms.
The projections stem from a live video feed of the surrounding area. In its neutral state, they are grayscale with a flame effect. Upon manipulation of the interface, the visuals spring to life. The left joystick controls video rotation along the XY plane and zoom on the Z-axis. The right joystick controls horizontal and vertical pixelation on the XY plane and downsampling on the Z-axis. The Z-axes automatically retract, which provides a nice haptic resistance to the user’s input gestures. Combined with FM synthesis, these elements provide the user with a multimodal embodied experience.

  • Boston, USA, native Matthew Mosher is an intermedia artist, research professor, and Fulbright Scholar who creates embodied experiential systems. He received his BFA in Furniture Design from the Rhode Island School of Design and his MFA in Intermedia from Arizona State University. While in Phoenix, he co-founded the non-profit [nueBOX] residency program for emerging performance and installation artists. Currently, he is an assistant professor of Games and Interactive Media at the University of Central Florida. Mosher exhibits his work across the United States, and internationally in India, China, Finland, and the Netherlands. His research is published in the ACM Computer-Human Interaction, Tangible Embodied Interaction, and New Interfaces for Musical Expression conference proceedings. His artwork bridges the physical and digital worlds by mixing new media, interaction design, computer programming, collaborative practice, and traditional sculpture processes. When taking a break from teaching and research, he enjoys still water kayaking, dispersed camping, and board games.   matthewmosher.us