Trans Plant

an interactive computer installation

(c) 95, Christa Sommerer & Laurent Mignonneau

realized for the

Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography

Japan 1995


"Trans Plant" is a interactive computer installation, developed by Sommerer & Mignonneau for the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography and displayed there for a period of 3 years.

In "Trans Plant" visitors enter a semi-circled room and become part of a virtual jungle which starts to surround them.

As the visitor steps forward into the installation space, he will see himself inside a projection screen in front of him. By walking freely and without any devices , he soon will discover that grass is growing, wherever he walks, following each step and movement he does. When stopping and staying still, trees and bushes will grow on the place where the visitor currently stands. Changing the speed and frequency of his movements, the visitor thus will create a biotope, that is full of different plant species.

The size, color and shape of these plants depends only on the size of the person. Small children usually will create different plants than their parents, but by folding out the arms, the size of the plants can be increased. If moving the body slightly backwards or forwards the color density can be changed as well.

As each visitor will create different plants, he will bring up his/her own personal forest, that is an expression of his personal attention and feeling for the virtual space.

As the growth gets more and more dense and the space more and more full of different plant species ( bamboo, Susuki grass...), the visitor will more and more engulf into this virtual jungle: he will enter deeper and deeper into the growth, and appear as a 3D person in the virtual space.

A NEW '3D Video KEY'

A new system of '3D Video Key' was developed (and patented) by Mignonneau & Sommerer for this application, which allows the visitor for the first time, to enter the virtual space without any devices, but still be displayed as a 3D person.

This allows him, for the first time, to be in front of plants, behind them, to cross them or to walk on them. All movement and exploration is in real-time, the comparison of 3D space and the 3D position of the visitor has therefore no delay.

The feeling of really being inside the 3D space is enhanced by the fact, that the visitor sees his own full image inside the virtual jungle and thus is able to explore the virtual space very naturally and freely.

He can touch the plants, hide between leaves, have one arm in front of a trunk or the other one behind a bush.

Several people can be displayed at the same time inside the jungle, but one person will lead the interaction. Thus people will start to hide between the plants, grow different personal types of plants and so create environments, that are different from person to person.

The aim of "Trans Plant" is, to create a personal environment, where visitors finds themselves freely interacting with the virtual space, becoming part of it and essentially creating this space by themselves.

"Trans Plant " (c) 95, Christa Sommerer & Laurent Mignonneau