Dance in the Mist



Dance in the Mist is a fog projection installation that studies visual experience and how depth perception is constructed. It resembles the Spinning Dancer - a well-known bistable optical illusion created by Nobuyuki Kayahara in 2003. A female dancer is perceived to be spinning clockwise or anti-clockwise by different observers, and some may even see the figure suddenly spins in the opposite direction.
In this installation, an immaterial screen is formed by a cloud of mist that is streamed continuously from a fog machine and rising up in the air. The dancer's silhouette is projected on the mist and appears to be suspending and spinning in mid-air. As the image casts on a volume of fog rather than a flat screen, the light rays are scattered at different depth positions in the fog. This gives rise to image thickness and creates a virtual 3D effect. The bistable property of the optical illusion preserves in the virtual 3D display.
As a generative piece, code is replaced by the piezoelectric transducer in the fog machine to create an autonomous, stochastic system mediated by mist. Thousands of microscopic water droplets act as the pixels of the screen and scatter the projected light. The turbulent flow in the mist is clearly visible and brings about a poetic and illusionary visual experience. Audience are invited to experience the aesthetic pleasure of watching the chaotic dynamics inside the "microscopic universe" composed by light and mist where all sorts of possibilities could exist.


Publication:
M.-L. Lam, "Virtual 3D Perception in a Fog Projection Installation," in Proceedings of International Conference on Virtual Systems & Multimedia (VSMM), 2014.

Exhibitions:
1. Hong Kong New Vision Arts Festival 2014 Stonehenge New Media Arts Exhibition, 10 Sep - 14 Nov 2014
2. Haptic InterFace 2014 Designing Experience, 3-19 Dec 2014
3. The Age of Experience, 13 Mar - 22 Apr 2015