If we’re going to be stuck in Zoom meetings for much longer, we may as well get creative. With his new interactive art installation ANTIBODIES, artist Daniel Iregui uses motion-sensing technology and artificial intelligence to encourage beholders to reflect on the monotony of Zoom calls during the COVID-19 pandemic.
ANTIBODIES, which will be on exhibition March 26-April 4 in Dallas’ West End Square, is the inaugural project within the square's Innovation Arcade, a section of the public green space dedicated to showcasing temporary digital installations. To bring ANTIBODIES to Dallas, Iregui partnered with Joshua King, founder of the biennial AURORA art and technology interactive exhibition.
Based in Montreal, Iregui first met King about six years ago, when King was visiting Montreal and attended one of Iregui’s exhibitions.
“I’ve always liked his way of thinking,” Iregui says of King. “He’s very straight to the point.”
ANTIBODIES was born after Iregui was commissioned to create an exhibition in Montreal. The original exhibition was canceled, and Iregui had four weeks to come up with an alternative. He and other artists took to Zoom to come up with ideas.
“We had to talk about current times,” Iregui says. “It was just impossible not to create something that was not referring to that. It's really weird to be doing a brainstorming session on Zoom. The first time we did it, it was like, ‘OK, well, let's make the piece about the office experience.’ Zoom meetings are very strange because you will end up meeting a lot of people who are just very agile. They seemed to be super disengaged. People are there, but they’re not there.”
Iregui describes ANTIBODIES as a “never-ending video call.” As beholders walk by ANTIBODIES, they will trigger a motion sensor that activates a camera. Their face is then projected onto multiple frames, with the idea that it will elicit facial expressions and fill patterns created by the artist.
“The patterns react to how you open your mouth and how you move from side to side,” Iregui says. “So while you do that, we are recording all those movements.”
The installation is accompanied by a web format, in which visitors can create their own patterns using their own webcam.
To bring ANTIBODIES to Dallas, Iregui and his team at his studio, Studio Iregular, shipped motion sensors, screens and a camera to Dallas. Iregui has never actually been to Dallas and won’t be able to come to Dallas to see his installation. However, he hopes the solutions he was able to come up with during the pandemic will help him reach larger audiences after the pandemic is over.
“Now that we’ve been able to develop this, we might be able to go further and present our works in many places that we probably couldn’t, because of cost,” Iregui says, “or all the reasons we wouldn't have been able to.”
West End Square, 607 Corbin St., is a park in Dallas' West End Historic District which will open on March 26.
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