Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Shifting Silhouettes

Impermanent people painting
  [vote for,

Imagine the surface of a city square or the floor of an art museum or large foyer covered with light- or heat-sensitive LCD panels. Lit by the sun or a large single light source, the flooring would react to and show shadows cast by people standing or walking by. Like a renewable, slow-exposure photographic plate, the silhouettes’ display would be prolonged ten seconds to present progressing shadows in the wake of moving figures.

The artificial light could change color at intervals to enrich the random movement mural of crisscrossing darker paths. Children playing tag or a cyclist scattering a flock of doves would provide highlights.

FarmerJohn, Aug 06 2002

Crayola Factory http://www.crayola.com/factory/
Lots of fun. Even if you don't have kids. [DrCurry, Aug 06 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Light of Other Days http://www.infinity...ction/otherdays.htm
Similar Sci Fi idea - interesting. [8th of 7, Aug 07 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]

A Nagasaki shadow http://pegasus.la.s...ForPEACE/shadow.jpg
[phoenix, Aug 07 2002, last modified Oct 05 2004]

The Children's Museum of Virginia - Exhibits page http://www.portsmou...eumva/exhibits.html
Search for "Recollections". [phoenix, Aug 07 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]


       Baked (sans the delay) in SciFi, children's toys and Nagasaki. Don't know if it's baked in art or architecture.   

       If the panels are LCD, why do they also need to be light/heat sensitive? Why use an LCD? Why not just use a camera to capture shapes from above and project the image on the floor from underneath?
phoenix, Aug 06 2002

       The Crayola Factory in Easton has a screen like this, on the wall not the floor, though. It uses a video camera to obtain the effect, much easier.
DrCurry, Aug 06 2002

       Phoenix, can you be more specific? "SciFi", "children's toys", and "Nagasaki" are all very large search spaces, and I don't know at all what you're talking about.   

       (I know that there are silhouettes of people killed by the atomic explosion in Nagasaki, but I would find using that as an excuse to pronounce an only vaguely related halfbakery item baked in extremely poor taste - that's why I was holding off on the obvious inference Peter supplies below.)   

       There is (was?) a still frame version of this as a wall in a room at the San Francisco Exploratorium. Periodically, the light in a room flashes brightly; silhouettes are fixed on the wall until the next flash (they fade.) Typical thing to try is to be in the air at the time of exposure.
jutta, Aug 06 2002

       In Nagasaki, the silhouettes (caused by the nuclear flash) don't exactly shift.
DrCurry, Aug 06 2002

       I've spotted the version of this described by jutta at the London Science museum, it's pretty fun.
madradish, Aug 07 2002

       I think I'd find this more interesting if the shadows displayed on the panels were recorded and transmitted live (or with time-shifting to match up traffic peaks) from a similarly busy spot thousands of miles away, ideally in a completely different culture, but displayed as if they represent shadows of passing people/things in the locale where they're displayed. Do that, and make some general comments and hand-wavings about the unity of all mankind, and you could call it art.   

       Alternatively, one could record shadows for, say, 20 years or so, and display shadows on any given day of a randomly-selected day from the past.
beauxeault, Aug 07 2002

       beauxeault: That idea's contained in a Sci-Fi story about a product called "Slow Glass" - a glass sheet that has a time delay between a photon entering one side of the sheet and exiting the other. The delay could be several years (according to the story). I'll try to find a lingk.   

       By the way, yesterday was the 62nd anniversary of the Hiroshima bomb, and tomorrow is the anniversary of the Nagasaki bomb. "Old sins cast long shadows ?" They are the shadows of human beings whose lives were instantly ended by the flash, and they might be considered lucky compared with what many of the survivors have suffered ever since. Lest we forget.
8th of 7, Aug 07 2002

       MOMA Qns (the Museum of Modern Art, Queens) has a wall-sized looped video from Coney Island Aquarium in 1984, complete with the silhouettes of the visitors. Which I think bakes both beauxeault's ideas.
DrCurry, Aug 07 2002

       [jutta] Perhaps I shouldn't have used the term 'Baked', per se. I meant the concept was well established, if not the technology.   

       In re SciFi: I remember well a story about a man who while imprisoned for some crime or another made his own photosensitive paint. Over the course of years he painted small sections of his wall and created an entire cityscape using his body for shadow and the light from a small window in his cell. Unfortunately, I don't remember the name of the story. I've read other stories with similar technology, but can't cite specific titles.
In re Children's toys: My daughter used to have a small (2'x2') plastic sheet imbedded with a photosensitive material that would allow one to draw with a pen light or create shadows. I'll see if I can find a link.
In re Nagasaki: You are right, it was in poor taste. I mentioned it specifically because I was curious if a display such as proposed by [FarmerJohn] wouldn't be reminiscent of such.
phoenix, Aug 07 2002

       Blissmiss: "Herr Doktor Freud ? Ve haf a new patient for you, very interesting case .... "
8th of 7, Aug 07 2002


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