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Metabody



Metabody is an innovative and thought-provoking installation that investigates the intersection of physical and virtual bodies. It is a multi-faceted project that explores the relationship between the body and technology in new and exciting ways.


Conceptually, Metabody challenges the traditional binary between the physical and virtual worlds. It asks questions about how the body can exist and interact in both realms simultaneously and how technology can be used to enhance and augment our physical experiences.



01. Research


The Body Transfer Illusion is a perceptual phenomenon where an individual's sense of self is transferred to another body, such as a mannequin or virtual representation. This illusion is achieved by combining visual, tactile, and proprioceptive cues to generate a strong feeling of ownership over the substitute body. In the Metabody project, a virtual body acts as the substitute, allowing users to temporarily inhabit it.

An example of this phenomenon is the rubber hand illusion (RHI), where simultaneous stimulation of a person's real hand and a fake rubber hand creates the illusion that the rubber hand is part of their own body. The strength of the illusion is influenced by the synchronization of visual and tactile stimuli.


In Plato's Allegory of the Cave, individuals chained in a cave perceive only shadows of objects, mistaking them for reality. When one is freed and sees the true world, it symbolizes a journey toward understanding deeper truths.


The Metabody project draws inspiration from this allegory, merging the real and digital bodies by casting both as black shadows. This deliberate blurring prompts viewers to question their perception of reality versus virtuality. The use of shadows parallels the distorted reality in Plato's cave, serving as a commentary on how our understanding of reality can be constrained by sensory experiences and technological tools.



02. Technical Issues


Metabody's interactive art projects are primarily built on Unreal Engine. I also used software such as Maxon Cinema 4D, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe Photoshop to create the visual assets or design the artwork for Metabody.







03. Installation


I placed the Kinect sensor facing the audience and a desktop PC nearby. Laser-cutting hardboard box covers the computer to make it invisible. What matters is the proper distance and enough space for the viewer to interact. Before installing it at the show, I pre-calculated the area by mocking it up in Cinema 4D based on the gallery floor plan. I then validated the space in the gallery one more time during the actual show installation and tweaked the details of UE's KinectMaster blueprint.





04. Conclusion


Metabody is complex and sophisticated work utilizing cutting-edge technologies to integrate the physical and virtual realms seamlessly. It employs body detection, interactive art, and other advanced techniques to create a truly immersive and responsive experience.


The installation offers a transformative experience that challenges visitors to think differently about their bodies and their relationship to technology. It encourages self-reflection and introspection and invites visitors to consider the implications of the digital age for the future of human existence.


Overall, Metabody is a groundbreaking and visionary work that pushes the boundaries of contemporary art and technology. It offers a unique and immersive experience that challenges visitors to think deeply about the relationship between their physical and virtual selves and consider technology's implications for the future of human existence.

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