Eye Portraits: Visualizing the Space In Between People

Inessah Selditz

A designed and choreographed experience that uses playful procedures to challenge and be a counterpoint to our typical channels of communication which reflect increasing unfamiliarity and discomfort with direct intimacy.


My thesis is about creating an uncommon space for people to connect and an effort to de-regulate the digital and physical modes which we use to regulate our connection with others. The installation uses eye tracking to follow the path of two people's eyes as they sit across from each other. When the interaction is over they will receive a portrait of themselves that has been determined by how directly the other person has looked at them. As more people participate, a visual corpus of collective interactions will be created.

Topics researched:
Eye tracking: EyeWriter (Zach Leiberman), EyeOSC (Kyle McDonald)
Image processing: slit scanning, pixel shifting, glitch, transcoding
Human behavior: channels of communication, non-verbal/verbal, oculesics, haptics, modes of regulating intimacy

Anyone who wants their portrait taken and doesn't mind sitting in front of another person for three minutes.

User Scenario
Two people sit down across from each other
They go through a brief eye calibration process
They then have to sit across from each other for about three minutes. There is no talking and movement is constrained because their chin is in the chin rest.
After three minutes is up, a bell rings and they each receive a portrait of themselves.
The clarity of the portrait is determined by how directly their partner looked at them during the installation

I intend to create a functional installation which can visualize the direction of two people's eyes while they sit across from each other.

Don't ever use eye tracking