Re-Tratos is an interactive work that establishes a temporary connection between audiences in two contexts: Cubans living on the island and Cubans living in Miami. Created by Carnegie Mellon MFA student Felipe Castelblanco, Re-Tratos was exhibited at the Camagüey International Video Art Festival in Cuba in April 2013.
The interface is a two-way mirror that not only reflects images but also emits light, transforming the spectator into another mirroring surface for video projection. Thus, the faces of two people living in two different places are combined in real-time, creating a third image that is reflected back to the viewer in the mirror.
The technology used in this work is based on a custom-made computer vision application that overlays images from a database of portraits onto a real-time video feed. The application continuously analyzes the facial features of the audience in Camaguey and uses the data to overlap images from participants living in Miami.
Re-Tratos was supported by a microgrant from the Frank-Ratchye Fund for Art @ the Frontier (FRFAF)— an endowment founded to encourage the creation of innovative artworks by the faculty, students and staff of Carnegie Mellon University. With this fund, the STUDIO seeks to develop a cache of groundbreaking projects created at CMU — works that can be described as “thinking at the edges” of the intersection of disciplines.
Felipe Castelblanco is an MFA student at Carnegie Mellon University.