I tried to influence the patterns by placing my hands between the TV and the camera, or holding light sources/reflective materials in front of the screen. It was enough fun to occupy me for a good few hours. As I was fiddling, I was thinking that a lot of what made the process fun was that it was interactive. I was also thinking how cool it would be if the screen were 10 feet tall, so I could influence the patterns with my whole body rather than just my hands. I also figured that a front projection TV would work better than the TV screen, because when you put your hands or body in front of a front projected image, you alter the color and shape of the image. When you put your self in front of a TV screen you just make a silhouette.
At this point a nice tune from Afro Celt Sound System came up on the ol' random shuffle, and suddenly I thought to myself: this is the kind of art project that would be perfect for Burning Man. I had a couple of art project ideas when I was at my first Burn last August, but they all evaporated when I returned home and started thinking about logistics. This is my first Burning Man art project idea that I would really enjoy, AND that I think I could actually do.
Here's what I'm thinking: cheap but bright DLP projector (maybe $1500), consumer grade video camera ($500?), a couple of speakers and an iPod for mood music, and a generator to power everything. The interactivity would be key, so ideally I would want to mount the camera in such a way that passers-by could adjust it easily. Perhaps a heavy-duty tripod bolted onto a stable heavy platform, so the wind wouldn't knock it over. I would also want a smaller TV screen so that people who were part of the image would be able to see themselves.
Ooh, and once it's finished I want to juggle fire in front of the screen.
Well, enough brainstorming. The acid test of this idea will be to see whether it still seems exciting after a good night's sleep.