Body Paint (2009)


Le Cube, Paris, France, 2010

During the exhibition at Le Cube in Paris, two complete strangers, members of the public broke into an impromptu, improvised dance performance with the installation. There was no music playing in the space. Luckily I had my camera on me, I sat in a corner and managed to capture these photos. Mind blowing and truly humbling. Thank you. My work here is done.


Live performance, Newcastle, UK, 2009

Body Paint also exists as a live performance


 MSAV Open studio day, London, UK, 2009


Experimenting with ‘holographic’ musion screens



Interactive installation
1ch HD projection, infrared camera, custom software
Duration: N/A
Dimensions (variable): [3m x 2m] – [6m x 4m]

Body paint by Mehmet Akten is an interactive installation – a visual instrument – allowing users to paint on a virtual canvas with their body, interpreting movement, gestures and dance into evolving compositions. It’s purpose is not to create a new interface for creating static paintings, but more a natural way of creating, directing and performing moving images in realtime, with focus on the interaction experience. What matters is not the painting created at the end, but the sensation one experiences while using it and reacting in realtime to their own creation as it evolves – analogous to a musical instrument – while one often plays a piano to compose and record, it is quite common to just play and improvise without any concern for recording. Every note is just for the moment, a realtime reaction coming from within, in response to your journey so far. Hence when you stop moving, the painting fades away to white, leaving only the memory, like the song you just played on the piano.

Our body is a vessel for emotional expression. When we talk, we move with our whole body. As we get excited, and more involved and passionate about what we are saying, we get more animated. Body Paint taps into this, our natural instinct to express ourselves with full body movement and dance, and combines it with our subconscious desire to create – even more so, our desire to create something beautiful.

The installation has been shown in various events, galleries and festivals across the world including the Decode exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London UK; Holon Museum in Tel Aviv, and Garage Center for Contemporary Culture, Moscow, Russia.


made with openFrameworks

Exhibitions & performances

2013 Apr 8-2014 Apr 1 EYE Film Institute Netherlands, Amsterdam, Netherlands  
2013 Nov 26-30 Ajyal Youth Film Festival, Doha Film Institute, Qatar
2013 Apr 9-21 TIFF Kids International Film Festival, Toronto, Canada
2012 Jul 17-Aug 19 File Festival, Sao Paulo, Brasil
2012 Apr 9-May 6 File Festival, Rio, Brasil
2011 May 25-26 Johannesburg & Cape Town, South Africa
2011 Apr 9-May 8 Bouillant festival, Vern-Sur-Seiche, France
2010 Dec 5-19 Yota Space Festival, St Petersburg, Russia
2010 Sep 21-Oct 3 Cube Festival, Paris, France
2010 Jul 2-10 Vigo Transforma Festival, Vigo, Spain
2010 Jan 27-Jun 16 Lovebytes Digital Arts Festival, Sheffield, UK
2010 Jun 9-13 Phoenix Spark Festival, Leicester, UK
2009 Jun 25 Exhibit Festival, Venice, Italy
2009 Mar 5-8 Clicks or Mortar? : Designing a future for cultural venues in the digital age', Newcastle, UK

Related keywords

c++, computer vision, dance, decode digital design sensations, fluid simulation, generative visuals, glsl, infrared, installation, interactive, live performance, motion tracking, opencl, opencv, openframeworks, optical flow, particles