‘lit tree’ by kimchi and chips




lit tree‘, an installation that uses a small potted tree as the site for an interactive light display, is the newest work on exhibition by kimchi and chips, the collaborative studio of london-based technical designer elliot woods and seoul-based artist mimi son. considered by the artists an ‘in-progress prototype’, ‘lit tree’ represents a new approach to 3D mapping, involving the non-invasive utilization of the existing environment for 3D projection, accomplished through the realtime scanning of the projection site. as a visitor places her hand above a wooden plinth located near the bamboo plant, her hand is scanned in three dimensions, and the 3D shape is reflected ‘inside’ the tree. thereafter, she can select and highlight a volume of the tree gesturally. kimchi and chips hopes that the response of these volumetric patterns of light to visitor interaction will draw attention to the invisible effects of our day-to-day interaction with the environment.

video footage from the installation




the scanning system is composed of two webcams on a tripod for hardware, and the artists’ self-created ‘pc encode’ structured light scanning software, utilizing their ofxpolyfit openframeworks extension (to be available on their google code page), which permits the correlation  of any two datasets, including ones of different dimensionality (for example 2D or stereo 4D to 3D). in ‘lit tree’ the plant’s leaves itself serve as the voxels (3D pixels) for the site of light projection, accomplished through the use of two video projectors. microsoft kinect garners gestural input. in addition to the immediate, interactive effect of the installation, the artists suggest that since the temperature of light produced  by a video projector bulb is similar to that of the sun’s surface, the tree might over time naturally respond to the light that is projected onto it: the natural phototropic behaviour of plants may cause leaves that remain consistently in shadow to turn towards the projector’s light.

kimchi and chips maps human hands onto lit tree installation view, with visitors

kimchi and chips maps human hands onto lit tree detail view

kimchi and chips maps human hands onto lit tree view of the tree during the initial testing phases, as elliot woods works on the scanning system in the background


kimchi and chips maps human hands onto lit tree

infiniti digital art competition currently, designboom in collaboration with INFINITI is offering an international competition  asking participants to design spectacular or interactive digital artworks,to be installed and displayed  throughout europe. participation is open to applicants from every country in the world: to professionals, students, vjs, and design-enthusiasts. registration is free and now open, through july 8th, 2011. for more. information about the competition and how to register, click here.