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Dynamic Video Installation

“Give & Take” began as a Brady Bunch daydream one evening on the drive home from work. I was doing a lot of ActionScript 2 coding at the time, creating dynamically generated grid layouts and effects. My idea was pretty simple: Arrange a grid of video heads, a la Brady Bunch, set one random head (A) to “tell” a random neighboring head (B) something, and have head (B) react to the information. Once that conversation finishes, head (B) chooses another neighboring head at random (C) to talk to. And so it goes endlessly, until a global timer resets and rebuilds the grid in a different arrangement.

There are 15 possible heads, each with idle loops, capable of sending or receiving in four directions, with edge detection. If I were to make improvements today, I would prevent repeated back-and-forth interactions between characters (A-B-A-B-etc) which can too often bog down the experience.

Video Demo:


Give & Take was invited to be shown at the 515 Gallery in downtown Phoenix, late in 2005. For the installation, I had to cut a hole in the wall of a storage closet and build a silk screen and frame to display the artwork. The .swf itself was projected from the rear, driven by my way-too-heavy PowerMac G5 and a small projector borrowed from the Interactive Alchemy office during Gallery opening hours.

While the photos capture some fun interactions, the actual live artwork is captivating (Demo).

Source Files:

The current version of Adobe Flash will no longer compile ActionScript 2.0, but you’re welcome to check out my code below. The entire project including video clips is about 300MB and my old compile still works fine running in a web browser. If you’re interested in downloading the whole thing, contact me.

Download zipped .AS