The performance of CrowdCAVE in the IDEAS series will showcase an interactive, stereoscopic crowd video in the StarCAVE along with a presentation of visual research in the Calit2 Theater. Visitors will also have the opportunity to integrate their video portraits on the large-scale Vroom display. CrowdCAVE is a project created by the VideoMob team specifically for the virtual reality StarCAVE space in Calit2's Qualcomm Institute. In this installation, stereoscopic video portraits are quilted together and ready to interact with the viewer using VR to explore portraiture in virtual groups. To create our installation, multiple participants were asked to pose for high-resolution videos in front of a green screen background while performing a series of actions. After entering the space, we allow the audience to become a part of the crowd by triggering these pre-recorded actions to play based on the viewer’s movement and gesture. VideoMob began in 2013 as a collaboration between Emily Grenader, Danilo Gasques Rodrigues, and Nadir Weibel. Since then, their interactive video booth has been presented all over the United States in Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Santa Barbara. VideoMob’s research on the relationship between participant and crowd video culminated in a paper, “The VideoMob Interactive Art Installation: Connecting Strangers through Inclusive Digital Crowds,” which was recently published in a TiiS Special Issue ACM peer reviewed journal. Projects by the team were presented in the 2015 Intelligent User Interfaces (IUI) Conference and the 2013 ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. In 2015, Sylvia Li and Jimmy Nguyen joined the team to help create our next project CrowdCAVE. Grenader and her colleagues, including undergraduates Sylvia Li (Interdisciplinary Computing in the Arts major) and Jimmy Nguyen (CSE major) who joined the project in 2015, worked with 15 graduate and undergraduate students last summer to tag and organize individual video portraits based on action, emotion, age and movement. “We wanted to be able to better understand how visitors to interactive installations react to a crowd of strangers and the possibility to be part of it, as well as how this paradigm can be used to augment social interactions,” explained Grenader. “To properly show our data, we need to display our findings visually, and that’s where the Vroom display system comes in.” During the performance, the high-resolution ‘moving’ portraits of the latest visitors are merged on the Vroom display so that the full impact of the crowd can be felt across the Vroom’s 30-feet by 15-feet expanse (but with each face in the crowd clearly visible because the video portraits are captured at high resolution). The final performance will also take advantage of similar portraits captured over the past two years by Grenader’s VideoMob project. “We will organize a presentation that allows us to dynamically display our visual research,” she added, “while also leaving time for the public to connect to the interactive installation by recording their own videos that will instantly be added to the crowd.”
Emily Grenader grew up in Houston, Texas and moved to New York City in 2003 to earn her BFA from the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. She arrived in San Diego in 2011 where she earned her MFA from the Visual Art Department at UCSD. Grenader is currently a member of the Visual Arts faculty at The Bishop’s School and a lecturer in UC San Diego’s Visual Arts department. She uses various mediums to combine individuals into “crowd portraits,” exploring human connections from many perspectives. She has recently shown work at the Athenaeum Music and Arts Library and the Lux Art Institute. Grenader's large-scale crowd painting was selected for the Open Walls Billboard Project, she was featured as the launch artist in the 2014 ART SAN DIEGO fair, and she was awarded a two-week residency as a Fortnight Artist at IDEO Boston. Danilo Gasques Rodrigues is a computer engineer from Brazil who developed a passion for interactive art while studying abroad at UC San Diego on a one-year scholarship. He received his B.C.E. from Federal University of Sao Carlos, Brazil in 2015. While there, he worked with a variety of technologies that range from modeling flexible manufacturing systems, designing industry software integration, developing games, and implementing an awarding-winning, web-based digital television player. Currently he works in the development and maintenance of scalable, high-load telecommunication systems at Daitan Group. Nadir Weibel is a research scientist and lecturer in the Computer Science and Engineering department at UC San Diego and a research health science specialist at the VA San Diego Health System. His work on human-centered computing is situated at the intersection of computer science, cognitive science and the health sciences. Weibel's main interests range from software engineering to human-computer interaction, particularly focusing on mobile health, computer-supported cooperative work, medical informatics, mobile and ubiquitous computing.
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