I’ve always fancied an x-ray torch, but I could never save up enough Bazooka Joe wrappers. Now, as proof that we are officially Living In The Future, I can finally live my dream. All I have to do is to get down to the Design Museum before 14 October to sample Chris O’Shea’s Out Of Bounds installation.
Using a torch beaming infra-red light, users can see through the walls of the museum and peer into the backstage world beyond. Sort of…
Out Of Bounds is an interactive installation running under the Museum’s Designer In Residence scheme. Visitors shine the x-ray torch at the wall to reveal the secrets hidden beneath. They can pay an anonymous visit to the staff office, collections store, workshop, roof hatch or plant room.
As O’Shea explained in an interview with fellow designer Andy Polaine, it works like this: “The infrared light is invisible to us, but not to a camera that works in low light. So the camera looks at the wall, using a lens filter to block out the projection. Where there is light, it pushes through a depth map to reveal the room. The virtual space is 1024×768 in size with a depth of 255. As you show pixels at different depths, you get the wall, two layers of brick and then the room itself.”
“As adults, we spend less and less of our time engaging in playful activities,” says O’Shea. “Our daily life and careers often get in the way. I’m interested in how play can enrich our lives. I aim to take concepts of interaction design, toys, video games and playgrounds, and bring them into our everyday objects and spaces”.
O’Shea creates interactive work for both public institutions and private companies. In 2005 he was awarded First Class Honours in BSc MediaLab Arts at the University of Plymouth. Since then he has created work at AllofUs for Tate Britain, Onedotzero (at V&A Museum) and THEpUBLIC, at Moving Brands for the Muon launch in Milan and Ico Design for the Wellcome Collection. In 2006 he was the guest curator of the Cybersonica exhibition. He regularly writes on Pixelsumo and is one of the founding member of the event series, This happened.