Philip Worthington. Shadow Monsters. 2004–ongoing. Java, Processing, BlobDetection, SoNIA, and Physics software. Gift of the designer

In this installation, interaction designer Philip Worthington radically enlivens the timeless amusement of creating shadow puppets with the support of a computer, a camera, two projectors, a light box, and original code. The fantasy of monsters materializing from the shadows becomes a reality, thanks to vision-recognition software that augments the gestures of participants with sound and animation.

To activate the installation, step in front of the light box and make shadow shapes with your body: mouths with razor-sharp teeth will surface; tongues, eyes, and fins will appear; and birds will squawk and dinosaurs burp.

The focus of interaction design is the user’s experience of—and with—digital artifacts, including the behaviors, new habits, and other effects that they elicit. It is a field MoMA has been exploring and collecting extensively and one of the most important and oft-discussed expressions of contemporary design creativity.

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