Jan Torpus, Michel Durieux: affectiveCinema

  • ©2002, Jan Torpus and Michel Durieux

  • ©2002, Jan Torpus and Michel Durieux
  • affectiveCinema installation





Creation Year:



    Interactive Installation


Artist Statement:

    Inventions often expand human capacities. As a car is a physical protease and improves transport speed and comfort, a computer can be seen as a mental protease that speeds up calculations. Marshall McLuhan considers all media forms as expansions of the human senses, and the global network as an extension of the nervous system. Our intention was to make the first small steps toward the emotional protease that could allow us to influence our surroundings by means of affective input-a new way of nonreflected and unconscious decision-making.

    When visitors put their hands into the installation’s sensors, their emotions are measured by galvanic skin response. As a result, visitors get a personalised video performance that influences the character of image and sound, the order and the rhythm. As visitors follow different branches of the nonlinear structure, they enter an emotional-technological dialog.

    affectiveCinema is difficult to categorize. It is somewhere in the convergence of art, games, and science. The idea of emotional navigation can be very close to interhuman communications, which include many more factors than the spoken language. The video image is exclusively the face of an actor whose limited expressions are extended by means of multimedia. affectiveCinema could be interpreted as an encounter with someone strange, someone virtual, or even oneself. Because affectiveCinema includes live takes of the visitor’s face, the frontier between monitor and visitor is even blurrier.

Technical Information:

    affectiveCinema is a video installation that deals with unreflected human reactions and perceptions. Humans respond to affective content from a video. The intensity of the emotional response is measured by sensors, and the resulting signal is sent to a computer. Each person follows different branches of the non-linear structure of the video clips depending on their different ways of perceiving and reacting. Furthermore, the parameters of image and sound on the video are influenced by the visitor’s emotional input. A camera built into the system allows live video of the visitor to be built in real time. The resulting personal video can be recorded and documented on CD-ROM.

    The Installation
    The appearance of the installation is rather functional and can be adapted to different productions. For this first production, there is no need to hide the technical equipment because it represents the actual physical appearance of the character. The installation consists of two main elements: the sitting and background unit for the visitor and the display element for the technical equipment. A lamp guarantees optimal light conditions for the built-in camera. affectiveCinema is meant to be set up in a quiet area, with no special separation elements. The minimal measurements are 50 x 250 cm, but some additional space for access and ambience is required.

Other Information:


    1: Excited
    2: Provocative
    3: Insult
    4: Secret
    5: Mad
    6: Sad