Noise Ink: Auckland Arts Festival 2011

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  • About
    This artwork was commissioned by NZ Post for the Auckland Arts Festival 2011. 'Noise Ink' is a pseudo 2D fluid/ink animation system which responds to body movement via a Kinect camera. The body movement detected would affect optical flow and perlin noise algorithms which in turn moved a cloud of ink-ish particles.

    Anyone could come and play in the garden, body movement generated ink splash visuals on a 15m projection screen and stereo sounds. The artwork was installed at Aotea Square which ran every night from dusk till dawn for 3 weeks. A 3.5x3.5m garden area was setup with surrounding red picket fences and a post box (housing a Kinect camera for motion detection). 

    It was great watching the process of people hesitantly beginning to interact, then losing their inhibitions the more they play – especially those at the end of their night out. The best thing we found about the project was the way it brought complete strangers together in play.

    Special thanks to Mike Hodgson from Dub Module who made this project possible.
  • Videos
  • Noise Ink was originally created for the Auckland Arts Festival
  • Setup video: Processing source code and binaries available on GitHub
  • Screen captures
  • Screen capture taken at the festival event. This modified version of Noise Ink had various setup controls, and generated sounds around the garden as people played. The final color scheme included reds, pinks, purples, and blues.
  • Exploring a different range of hues.
  • Hi-res black on white: another modified version to render vector PDF's.
  • Body movement generates sprays of ink which settle into a perlin noise field. I went with simplified white on black for the open source version available on GitHub.
  • Setup/control screen for the open source version.
  • Photos
  • Visuals were projected on a 15m wide canvas. Mini red picket fences surrounded the 4x4m interactive play area. This shot was taken with a longer exposure, so projected visuals are not accurate.
  • The kinect camera was housed in a NZ Post post box. Sometimes we found letters in the box people were trying to mail.
  • This shot depicts the projected visuals accurately.
  • Crowd curiosity and the easy gestural interaction meant we could just leave it running every night without having to instruct people what to do. You can see in this shot the grass was starting to degenerate due to the foot traffic.
  • Download

    Noise Ink was built with Processing ( The open source nature and collaboration within the Processing community has been an inspiration, and so I’ve released a version of Noise Ink on GitHub ( so anyone can download and play.