Trace is an interactive audio/video installation that allows its users to control both light and sound through gesture. A fog machine fills a room with fog to solidify the projector’s light into solid beams, inspired by Anthony McCall’s Line Describing a Cone (1973). Users face the lens of the projector and use their hands to control both the beams of light as well as the sound. Trace is a light-sculpting instrument that immerses users into a space enabling them to see, hear, feel, and manipulate sound-light compositions of their own creation.

With Anthony McCall’s Line Describing a Cone (1973), McCall solidified the projector beam into a “light sculpture” by projecting a film of a circle drawing over time in a room full of haze. Once the circle was completed, the result was a solid walled, but hollow cone of light. The cone of light was meant to be viewed from multiple angles and explored as a sculptural object.

Trace, references Line Describing a Cone, in that the effect is largely created by projecting simple, two dimensional shapes, and “solidifying” the light beams with the use of a fog machine. However, Trace is primarily meant to be experienced as an interactive project that places the viewer into the beam facing the projector to get the effect, thereby, inverting the viewing convention of looking at the result of the projector (i.e., the projected image). The user in Trace engages with and affects both the form of sound, as well as light through their gesture.


An X-Box Kinect is placed on top of a projector and pointed at the users. A fog machine fills the room with smoke so that the projected image turns into beams of light. The users hands are tracked by the Kinect and passes the data into a Max 6 / Max For Live patch for audio/video processing. Synthesizer sounds were created in Ableton Live and controlled by Max For Live.


Trace 2.0 was presented at the NXNE at Hashtag Gallery on June 13, 2013. This version of Trace used Dave Phurrough's jit.openni Max 6 external Kinect tracking.

Trace 1.0 was also presented at the Toronto Fringe Festival in the Fort Awesome tent on July 11, 2012. This version of the project used Ryan Challinor's Synapse for Kinect tracking.