Vessel #615  | Interaction Installation, Video Sculpture

Vessel #615 is an interactive installation that uses an abstract system to confront sick bodies being gazed and examined. 

The installation consists of a container with a half tank of clear water, a water pump system constantly working in a heatbeat pattern, and a video projected from behind. Ink drops into the tank whenever a viewer gets close and looks at the “vessel”, slowly contaminating the installation. Over time, the liquid becomes significantly darker, and slowly blocks off the video playing in the background.

This project was created in collaboration with Anh Le.

Featured at: ITP Spring Show 2021


Anh and I talk a lot about body and trauma in our lives, and this project came into shape when I found a collection of old medical reports - my body, a body deemed 18 year-old and female, was displayed, examined, broken down into categories, and described in abundance details over months of hospitalization.

As a patient, the objectification and dehumanization is experienced through both unfamiliar procedures and unreadable reports, due to barrier of languages and understanding of the systems at work.

We wanted to design a system to confront the absurdity of body alienation that comes from being looked at and examined in medical facilities.

Designing system & interaction

There were a couple of things we considered in the design process:

  • How can audience figure out their presence triggers the ink drop?
  • How to attract attention?
  • How to measure attention?
  • Unpredictablity of audience behavior

The tank is designed to look like an exquisite corpse, with all the running components exposed. The viewer will be initially intrigued by the intricate pvc tubes and video projection. As they get closer, they will start spending more time looking at the content shown on screen, which will be looped with caption on and no sound.

Development & Fabrication

  • The two water pumps are controlled by an Arduino Uno.
  • A webcam is used for face detection, using POSENET on p5.js to track eye placement and movement.
  • Ink sqeeze mechanism is designed in Fusion360, and 3D printed by a Cura Ultimaker.

ITP Course: Intangible Interaction  
Instructor: Yeseul Song

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