Babel is one of three interactive installations created by Metcalf and Stout in collaboration with students from the Installation, Performance & Interactivity project at the College of Santa Fe. All three installations are based on biometric profiling techniques currently being used for security purposes in the US and abroad. In Babel, Cory has programmed a software based 3D scanner utilizing an infrared video camera to capture a wire-mesh mask of the subject. The resulting portraits self-assemble in a virtual floating ziggurat that allows the operator to access an navigate the topology of any given portrait scan taken over days, weeks, months, or years.
In essence, Babel is a visual database rendered in a mythic architectural form. The image above is a wide shot of "The Gauntlet" exhibit where Babel was housed. The Gauntlet was conceived as an architectural mashup among a nightclub, a strip club, and a church, imagined as being run by the Department of Homeland Security. The portrait images included here use a similar technique using a standard video camera as the capture device. In these examples the 3D coordinates are determined by the luminance of the image; thus light levels can be used to make exquisite distortions in the models. This realtime 3D video technique is the basis of work underway on both public art installations and animation projects.