I created an interactive pottery simulation exhibit with Gallagher & Associates for The Mississippi Entertainment Experience as part of a group of exhibits called The Artist Studio. The exhibit allows a visitor to reproduce the style and process of a group of Mississippi artists, using a Leap Motion device to capture and interpret hand movement over the pottery wheel. The user's virtual hands appear on the main screen with the simulated clay, while a separate touchscreen UI runs on an attached display.
After choosing an artist to emulate, the user is guided through the steps of forming the clay and glazing it, receiving a link to allow the user to download the results on their own device.
The pottery artist studio app was built in Unity with a React app running on a separate iPad, communicating commands via a NodeJS websocket server, and was installed in a custom exhibit housing.
In the Unity app, each artist's pottery simulation consisted of custom vertex deformation algorithms to allow a user to reproduce different kinds of forms and behavior by using directed gestures like pressing down on the initial block of clay to flatten it, expanding the edges of a pot outwards while hollowing it out, and creating a series of ridges or depressions in the surface. Most pottery simulation applications focus on the silhouette of a pot allowing for fairly consistent mesh treatment, but this application was designed to include several discrete steps for each artist, requiring a fair amount of experimentation in a short development cycle. Earlier prototypes experimented with machine learning for gestural recognition but a series of custom physical simulations were eventually used.
This piece was installed as a permanent exhibit at the Mississippi Art & Entertainment Experience with Gallagher & Associates:
The Mississippi Arts + Entertainment Center (The MAX) opened on April 28, 2018, in Meridian, Mississippi. The MAX was created to showcase Mississippi’s arts and entertainment legacy, honor their creative legends and inspire tomorrow’s artists. Visitors are invited to explore the Land, the Home, the Community, the Church, the People, and the Places that make Mississippi so special. Throughout the galleries, visitors interact with cutting-edge technology and hear personal accounts from Mississippi artists about the importance of their home. The spaces examine the dynamic and reciprocal relationship between artists and place; for just as a place can shape an artist’s work, the presence of artists can influence a place—and inspire future artists down the road.