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[Progress Report] Méroir

Nicole, Jordan and I met today to put a dent on our final, and man did we.

I went to canal plastics yesterday to get some different samples to try out for our double sided mirror, and today we met up and dove right into work. We had tested a bit of acrylic before today but now with a bigger piece we were able to determine that the two-way mirror was in fact better (even though it’s darker) than the clear acrylic on a black screen.

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From there we went into Isadora and started created our patches. We played around with a couple of effects, several webcams, and tweaked the timing for several hours and ended up settling on having three different effects of the glitch before moving on to the [secret] finale–all automized with specific timing so that the experience is seamless and choreographed for each user.

One of our scenes in Isadora
One of our scenes in Isadora

Méroir – effects test from Paula Ceballos on Vimeo.

As we were working on the patch we were also figuring out how to build our mirror so that it would play into the illusion as closely as possible (it is a screen behind two-way acrylic after all). Ideas were thrown around, until we settled on replicating the look of an old hollywood vanity mirror with bulbs on the perimeter of the mirror. This will make it look natural, while helping our light source do two things 1) light up the subject and 2) making the look still look like a mirror.

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We’ll be using the HDMI screen that I have, so next are to build out the mirror with those specs in mind, wire the bulbs on the perimeter and set up the scene with extra props with ambiance.

As we talked and decided on more and more things, the last thing we wanted to include was sound, to really make the whole thing immersive. Because we’re playing with the illusion of time, your visual system and sense of self, we wanted to have something that would create a slight dissonance in order to throw people off and heighten that feeling of  uneasiness.
We decided to play the classical orchestral piece of Gnossienne no. 4 paired with a ghost frequency subtle enough to achieve what we intended to.

Last, but not least, we landed on a name. Méroir. Stemming from the French language the prefix “mé-” is equivalent to “un-” in English, and the word “miroir” means “mirror.” By combining these words our mirror is now called “unmirror.”

Published inNothing: Creating Illusions

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