p i x e l d u s t

nelson mandela

pixeldust is a contributory, interactive video/audio/text engine that can be output to many different forms of exhibition—from small monitors to large-scale public video projections. Written in the Processing language, it accepts photographic portraits, disassembles them into component pixels that lie like dust in the bottom of the screen, and then dramatically sweeps them up into the complete portrait as the viewer listens to or reads a short autobiographical statement by the portrayed person. The swirling pattern of pixel “dust” is determined by the unique combination of text linked to the associated portrait. In a world increasingly threatened by erosion of civil rights, environmental destruction and economic disparity, PIXELDUST presents a visual/aural display of hope, faith and resoluteness through short autobiographical texts and visual portraits from inspirational figures in world history. It is designed to play back voice/sound but also to send a text-based translation that allows it to be multilingual. Participants approach a shrine/altar that triggers a visual dust storm of pixels that rise from the bottom of the screen. While the ‘pixeldust’ swirls, an autobiographical statement is heard/displayed from an unknown person, taken from a position of hopelessness, despair or fear expressed in that person’s life. As the voice/text ends, the pixels assemble and reveal the person’s identity, easily recognizable figures who clearly overcame their weaknesses and made substantial contributions to our world. PIXELDUST is designed to be an “engine” built to accept public contributions of inspirational figures from all points of the world. It is designed to be a public display resource to console and give hope to people around the world who fight for peace and social justice.
pixeldust is made by glenda drew & Jesse Drew with Spencer Mathews.