Playing with Shadowplay at EMF Camp

I was absolutely delighted to be accepted into the art programme at this year’s Electromagnetic Field Camp. I had heard about the event before but nothing could prepare me for what a wonderful event it was. In their words “Electromagnetic Field is a non-profit camping festival for those with an inquisitive mind or an interest in making things: hackers, artists, geeks, crafters, scientists, and engineers” - if that sounds like it’s interesting to you, go check it out, volunteer, and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

What we took there was a new an upgraded version of Shadowplay which was developed with an amazing effort from Dr Roger Whitham. On the tech side this version uses Stream Diffusion, Stable Diffusion XL Turbo, and a lot of Touchdesigner magic that Roger sorted out which allows you to ‘piloting’ the system.

In the live version the music is also reactive and integrates nicely. The full setup creates a really amazing experience where you can interact with the AI image generator in a really intuitive and fun way.

It’s worth pointing out that this work is an evolution of ideas that started with work that started out with Zach’s PhD research, which turned into this piece of Digital Portraiture, was filtered through Jesse’s Entoptic Media project, and recently became a workshop tool for people living dementia. This is an excellent example of how the unexpected twists and turns of Design Research can take you to unexpected but insightful and rewarding places.

Reach out if you want to talk about it, use it, or get a copy of our code.

Lots more to come on this in the form of research papers and more events, but for the meantime I’m incredibly grateful for all those that played with Shadowplay at the event - it was a privilege to share the event with you all!

Written by

Dr Joseph Lindley

Joe leads Design Research Works and is a Senior Research Fellow at Lancaster University. He is passionate about the value of Design Research, in particular in applying that value to the challenges associated with emerging technologies, rapid societal change, and living sustainably. Probably best described as a 'generalist' his research practice usually involves material engagements with possible futures.