Skin Tight an Interactive Installation

What happens when you manipulate a traditionally hard surface so that it behaves like fabric?  Vito Acconci studio’s installation in the Bronx museum, “LOBBY-FOR-THE-TIME-BEING,” is a wrapping, and twisting installation that coerced Corian—a typically hard, flat surface—to behave in ways otherwise expected.  In response to their call for an interactive projection in conjunction with their installation, my partner Angela Chen and I created “Skin Tight,” orchestrating a series of abstract gestural movements to be projected onto the Corian surface to render what was once inflexible as malleable.

Cut it open & slit it into strips (it can be pulled now & stretched to one-&-a-half times its length): pit it & gouge it, pock-mark it (it’s become malleable now, flexible): roll it & curve it, fold it, braid & knot it (it functions now as its own structure). Let’s take slick sleek Corian & turn it into lace: let’s take the surface of lace & mold it into structure…-Vito Acconci

The creation process involved a number of experiments with shape, form, and movement on a stretched spandex frame which were than later edited to fit specific, physical locations on the installation. The control and interaction of the video was done through Max/MSP & Jitter.



The installation has four phases that are activated by cameras placed in strategic locations within the lobby. The installation’s default state, opening, is a calming, playful movement, like someone absentmindedly playing with his or her hair. The next phase, activated by someone entering the lobby, is more focused and stylized, drawing more attention to the space. The third phase, lobby, is activated when the visitor is at the desk area, and temporarily preoccupied with activity away from the installation. Like a child trying to draw its parent’s attention, this phase is cloying and persistent. Finally, the last phase, sustain, is one that becomes initialized after the viewer has spent some time in the lobby. The video undergoes a metamorphosis into a more formalized, geometric state, acting at once mysterious and concrete.


Early prototype with mannequin and original content.

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