I chose to look at Camille Utterback, who focuses on interactive artworks and permanent public installations, I focused on the project Precarious

Precarious was created for the National Portrait Gallery exhibition Black Out: Silhouettes Then and Now, which opened in May, 2018. Precarious is an interactive installation that extends the historical practice of tracing human silhouettes with a mechanical apparatus on a backlit screen, by instead “tracing” gallery visitors with contemporary digital tools. Utterback uses a ceiling mounted depth camera to record peoples’ silhouettes as seen from above. Her software then continually interprets and redraws this data, rendering the silhouettes not with the stark fixedness of paper cut outs, but as tremulous outlines of bodies moving through time. The painterly aesthetic of Precarious builds on the algorithmically generated visual language which Utterback has refined over many years via her custom coded interactive drawing systems.

In the Precarious system, silhouettes are never fixed. As Utterback’s software draws peoples’ outlines, each line is translated into a series of points. The points are programmed to exert an animating force on the other points, which generates ongoing momentum in the continually redrawn forms.


Leave a Reply