Golan Levin is a creator, performer, innovator, engineer and MIT graduate whose work has been seen around the world, and FITC gave you the opportunity to ask him anything via Reddit. Golan has answered your questions in the video below, which was created by James George (@obviousjim) and Jonathan Minard (@deepspeedmedia), artists-in-residence at Golan’s lab who are researching new forms of experimental 3D cinema.
The work of James George and Jonathan Minard explores the notion of “re-photography”, in which otherwise frozen moments in time may be visualized from new points of view. Despite the sometimes wildly moving camera, the video was in fact shot with a stationary Kinect-like depth sensor coupled to a digital SLR video camera. To compose their shots, the filmmakers developed custom openFrameworks software that aligns and combines color video and depth data into a dynamic sculptural relief.
In a process of “virtual cinematography”, James and Jonathan rephotographed Golan’s 3D likeness — selecting new angles, dollying, and zooming — to compose new perspectives on the data as if playing a video game. Fixed camerawork is thus transformed into a malleable and negotiable post-process, in which shots can be carefully recomposed to highlight and inflect different latent meanings.
This experiment developed out of concepts and collaborations born at Art && Code, a conference on 3D sensing and visualization organized by Golan’s laboratory, the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University. Artist-hackers assembled to explore the artistic, technical, tactical and cultural potentials of low-cost depth sensors, such as the Kinect. As an outcome of the conference, James George, a creative coder interested in cinema, and Jonathan Minard, a documentary filmmaker interested in new-media technology, are now collaborating on the development of open-source tools and techniques for augmenting high-resolution video with depth information.