Terrors of the Breakfast Table

Currently on display at the Hamilton Art Gallery, Terrors of the Breakfast Table is described as an experimental video that “invites participation.” According to curator Melissa Bennett, the story follows a boy on a contemplative journey about life and death.

“Heavily symbolic, it unfolds in an impressionistic way, with interludes of brilliant cinematography and atmospheric sound,” she explains.

“The story is also a dreamscape, as the boy weaves in and out of consciousness, visualizing memories, familiar landscapes and symbolic environments. The piece ruminates on the elusiveness of the mind and body, and the functions of the body—such as breathing—that seem to be invisible.”

Interestingly, Tekatch designed the video installation so that the visitor’s breath causes changes to the visuals and sound. More specifically, subtle technologies sense a viewer’s breath, triggering thought-provoking interactive elements. These include a dream montage, the pace of a scene, ambient sound and the brightness of the visuals.

As Arduino reports, Tyler Tekatch and Kyle Duffield created the interactive video installation using a combination of cameras to shoot the project and capture a number of the super slow motion shots. The film was edited in FCP7, graded in DaVinci Resolve, with effects added in Cinema 4d and 3ds Max.

“For the interactive elements, they used Max 6 for all of the programming, including the Arduino library, AHarker Externals library, Ambisonics Externals from ICST and externals from Jamoma. They [also] experimented with a number of different approaches to the sensor, including sound analysis, but finally settled on an anemometer designed especially for breath by the company Modern Device,” writes Romano.

“The sensor was paired with an [Atmel-based] Arduino Uno (ATmega328 MCU), to which they also added LEDs in order to illuminate the sensor housing sculpture – which were mapped to the viewer’s breath.”

Interested in learning more about Terrors of the Breakfast Table? You can check out the project’s official page here.


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