lurkertech.com MEZ

Table of Contents

What is it?

MEZ is an interactive, live, real-time video art installation. When you walk up to MEZ, you see your own image on a video screen, processed as if you are in an impressionist painting, then a stained glass window, then a range of other surprising effects. The image updates continuously and much of the effect is determined by how you move, so you can dance and play with it for hours!

MEZ was inspired by the 'imp' and 'impression' still-image processing programs by Paul Haeberli of SGI (Silicon Graphics Incorporated). These programs were in turn inspired by impressionist painters, who built an image of a scene by picking certain important colors from the scene and making complete brush strokes with those colors.

Who Made It? How Do I Get It?

MEZ is custom software (OpenGL in C) written by Chris Pirazzi, who can be reached at mez@lurkertech.com. It runs on Windows PCs.

I have brought MEZ to the burning man festival every year since 2002 (where, for the past few years, it has lived at Camp Nose Fish in 3 o'clock plaza), and also shown it in Pai, a small village in the mountains of Northern Thailand where I have lived for several years.

MEZ is not currently available in any form (product or otherwise), but as I have poured many years of work into it, I am considering ways of packaging it (e.g. as a standalone performance program, a screen saver, a module for Max/MSP or jitter, an After Effects filter, or other). If you are interested in MEZ, please send me information about how you would like to use it and features/video formats/file formats/... which you would need.

Footage

MEZ is compelling because of its fine graphical detail and because of how it moves and evolves: therefore it is nearly impossible to capture on either photograph or video!

Here are some images of people enjoying MEZ (thanks to James Fleishman):

People enjoying MEZ      People enjoying MEZ

Here are some screen shots of MEZ processing a static image:

MEZ processing a static image

MEZ processing a static image

MEZ processing a static image

Here is a 7.3 MB QuickTime movie file which shows people enjoying MEZ at Burning Man 2003. It gives you a vague idea of the real-time aspect of MEZ. Even at 7.3 MB, the horribly blurry internet video movie doesn't even come close to the real thing, though! Many thanks to Tom Davis and Ellyn Bush for the original DV footage:

MEZ    Click for QuickTime movie.

Setup Details

The setup I normally use for MEZ consists of:

Outdoor Space Requirements

In the typical outdoor setup, the projector and computer are inside my Chevy S10 pickup for security, dust, and rain protection:

MEZ outdoor setup

In this case, I need 18' behind the screen for the truck, and at least 8' in front of the screen for the lights and the dancing people! The lights must be about 4' in front of the screen for the camera angle and spill to work out correctly.

Elevation (one square is 1' x 1'):

MEZ outdoor setup

This is a picture of the setup from Burning Man 2002:

MEZ at Burning Man 2002

Nowadays, my screen is an 8'x8' RP fastfold screen instead of that wooden monstrosity in the picture, and I raise the lights up 2' for better lighting of people's faces, but everything else is the same and the dimensions are roughly the same.

Power Requirements

Power requirements are about 1000 W:

projector325 W
computer225 W (it's a big one)
lights160 W
coolingfans 100 W ~
other100 W

Other Setup Notes