4th Wall

Date Created


Project Team Size


Skills Used

Multi-Touch Interaction Design, Rear Projection, Kinect, Interactive Sound Design, Processing, OSC

The Fourth Wall is an interactive installation developed for the Exploratorium’s adult evening programming, After Dark. This installation speaks to the Exploratorium’s tradition of creating hands-on experiences, creating an unusual and surprising human-digital interface that encourages visitors to break the fourth wall of cinema – the screen itself – analogous to breaking the barrier that many people feel between the “real world” and the digital world.

This mixed-reality installation uses stretched spandex as a pressure interface. Faced with a large, physically-accessible screen in a dark room, visitors feel compelled to approach and feel it. By touching, pressing, stretching and poking the screen, visitors discover that through touch, they are able to orchestrate dynamic animations and soundscapes, using their own bodies as a creative tool.

People found many different ways to relate to the piece; some were tentative, others delved deeply and decisively. Some choose to become completely enveloped, leaning their weight into the screen; others touched precisely; others preferred to stand back and watch. People explored the different artistic effects of using different parts of their bodies – even including effects we had not anticipated or predicted as the developers.

The Fourth Wall was created in Processing (processing.org), grabbing raw depth data from a Kinect V2 and rear projected through stretched spandex. The sound environment was created realtime using Reaktor 6 via OSC messages from Processing.

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