Conceptual Artwork which disappears when detects a human presence 🎨

December 18, 2017

Project 🕹

4 min read

As my final project for Creative Art Interactive Code course, I wanted to work on an artwork which reflects nature and aesthetics of minimalism. I did not want it to be complicated though... I wanted to be very simple (both aesthetically & functionally) yet incorporated the characteristics of nature. After brainstorming few ideas, I came up with very simple and elegant solution for my project. I decided to name it, 'Hidden'.


Hidden is an interactive artwork which disappears when it detects a human presence. Like a cell of an organism, it floats around the screen and connects with each other when they get close together. As mentioned above, when someone tries to see them (artwork), they disappears from the screen forcing the viewers to search them, ultimately making them give up the process. When the person leaves the scene, the artwork goes back live once again, dwelling in the pool of white void.

This is my attempt to describe them with more poetic context:

These small creatures always love to mingle around with their mates. When they are close, they try to connect to each other. And surprisingly, these creatures are shy - very shy. Whenever you try to see them, they will hide. But here's a twist: whenever you turn around, there's always going to be a another one to their family...

I was very fortunate to display this Art piece in the gallery for public. Please visit here for more information about the opening show: Interactive Code/ Creative Art Exhibition.

For this art piece, I've used: C++, openFrameworks. If anyone's interested, here's the GitHub repository for this work.

Below, I've captured few moments of my artwork.

Artboard 1@0.5x.png

Artboard 2@0.5x.png

Artboard 3@0.5x.png

Artboard 2@0.5x.png

Artboard 4@0.5x.png

# Video Goes here!


There's a two essential concepts behind this work:

  1. Nature
  2. Invisibility

The first concept is rather straight forward - this concept focused rather heavily on the aesthetic visual of the artwork. During my research phase, I discovered that a simple dot and the representation of those dots are one of the ideal way to represents a living cell from nature.

The second concept actually bring us to a unique situation where whenever the viewers attempts to view the artwork, it disappears. Then the viewers are left with a blank screen, leaving them unsure about the work. It is when they walk away from the artwork, the artwork is visible again. I took few ideas from the Schrodinger's cat experiment, where the mechanics of visibility determines the state of a certain object. Another idea is based on the beauty of the invisibility of an artwork itself. I personally find the concept of invisibility of a piece of work fascinating. Imagine an artwork which cannot be ever seen by a human being, but exist. While I was working, I also realized the beauty of something that is invisible has more value. The fact that we cannot see something doesn't mean it is under-appreciated - rather the things that we cannot see seem more valuable, even crucial in their existence.


One of the most difficult part to create this artwork was when I was trying to connect the new webcam to detect the face to hide the screen. I also realized that there were limitations for camera to detect the face, the machine did not work properly with the people who had something on their face / head (which includes me). The mounting process of the work was pretty rigorous as well, as I tried to hid / organize all the visible wires to blend with the wall.

Apart from that, this project was definitely very satisfying, and I definitely had a good grasp of experiencing C++ and openFrameworks.