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Narcissus

A kinetic exploration of introversion and extraversion.

Contemplating Narcissus — © Studio Roland Blok

Narcissus consists out of eight movable hexagon mirrors. It is waiting for you to come by. When you come close the mirrors move one by one to look at you. And they will keep tracking you. You cannot escape easily.
For some it is engaging energy while others feel uncomfortable in this focus.

The Mythology of Narcissus

One day Narcissus was walking in the woods when Echo, saw him, fell deeply in love, and followed him. Narcissus sensed he was being followed and shouted, "Who's there?". Echo repeated "Who's there?" She eventually revealed her identity and attempted to embrace him. He stepped away and told her to leave him alone. She was heartbroken and spent the rest of her life in lonely glens until nothing, but an echo sound remained of her. 

Nemesis, the goddess of revenge, learned the story and decided to punish Narcissus. Once, during the summer, he was getting thirsty after hunting, and the goddess lured him to a pool where he leaned upon the water and saw himself in the bloom of youth. Narcissus did not realize it was merely his own reflection and fell deeply in love with it, as if it were somebody else. Unable to leave the allure of his image, he eventually realized that his love could not be reciprocated, and he melted away from the fire of passion burning inside him, eventually turning into a gold and white flower.

Eight moving mirrors

Narcissus is a kinetic art project consisting out of eight movable hexagon mirrors. It is waiting for people to come by. When you come close, the mirrors will move one by one to look at you. And then, they will keep tracking you. You cannot escape easily. For some it is engaging energy while others feel uncomfortable in this focus.

When multiple people pass by, the eight mirrors will decide to play around. They choose to reflect you, or someone else. In some mirrors you see yourself, in other mirrors you see someone else. When new people come by, the mirrors will adapt to the situation. And they keep tracking you and the others.

How it works

The Narcissus project is a holistic system of mechatronics, software, mathematics and neural networks.

The mechanics are motor-controlled hexagon mirrors. Then there is a 3D depth camera. The motors move the mirrors so they can tilt in two directions. This makes it possible to point the mirrors all in different ways. The mirrors can point at you, so you will see yourself in all the mirrors. The mirrors will keep tracking you when you move.

When more people are present, the mirrors can choose to let you see the others, or yourself. It chances dynamically per mirror.
The control algorithm starts with face detection. The positions of the faces are used to calculate a 3D-room-position of the persons face in front of all the mirrors. This is followed by a calculation for each mirror to point it either you, or when there are more people, to show the other persons. This can even be mixed and changed in time. This process works continuously, so it seems the mirrors follow you, and the mirrors come alive when you and friends pass by.

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About Studio Roland Blok

I'm a maker artist. I love to make contraptions by combining physics, mathematics, electronics, software and other current technologies. Where possible do this together.

And then share to make one wonder and be surprised.

I’m always looking for new opportunities to do something interesting and special. If you are looking for that, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Narcissus — © Studio Roland Blok

Narcissus door Jan Cossiers, 17e eeuw — © public domain

Sectie-C area, Hall 10 - M, Daalakkersweg 10-08 , Map No. H14
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