“MASK 臉譜” by Tobias Klein, Fredrik Hellberg, Lara Lesmes

  • ©2016, Tobias Klein, Fredrik Hellberg, and Lara Lesmes, MASK 臉譜
  • ©2016, Tobias Klein, Fredrik Hellberg, and Lara Lesmes, MASK 臉譜
  • ©2016, Tobias Klein, Fredrik Hellberg, and Lara Lesmes, MASK 臉譜


    MASK 臉譜

Artist(s) and People Involved:



Creation Year:



    Interactive multimedia installation, 3D printed, projection mapped

Artist Statement:

    One of the oldest forms of colour articulation in complex dynamic performance media is the Cantonese Opera. All aspects of costumes, texture, masks and form are geared together to create a total work of art. Characters are articulated through elaborate colour coding, communicating mental state, behaviour, status and role. Such complex narrative materiality and communication is comparable with the transdisciplinary approach of cybernetics – one of constructed communication feedback loops in closed systems. Taking the local specificity of the opera’s rich history, we speculate on a new form of storytelling and non-linear performance. In the opera, characters are based on notated behaviors and roles, articulated through elaborate costumes and colour coding indicating mental state, behavior and character. The colours are static and so is the narration.

    MASK (臉譜) takes the static codification and translates the narration and character development into a dynamic, reactive and cybernetic system of conversation. The work is the design of a continuous conversation between two protagonists of the Chinese Opera. It takes the form of an interactive installation with two newly designed 3D printed masks are augmented by the means of chemical and biological agents as well as 3D reactive projection mapping. Each of the augmentations is reactive and environmentally controlled. Each of the reagents has a particular time span to change colour, from the instant change of a projection map, the intermediate reaction of polychromatic pigments to the slow change of
    bioluminescent bacteria or slow growing crystallisations. The mask here is object and condition at the same time. The reaction of the mask is recorded, played back and looped, creating a 2nd layer of influencing input, suggesting the layered repetition in the opera. stimulating and inhibiting the crystalline growth.

    Using 3D projection mapping, that as a source takes the recordings from the biological augmentation as well as the polychromic stimuli, allows the audience to interactively stimulate the masks behaviour up to the point of chemically altering its shape through the precipitation of Aluminium potassium Sulphate – the curing of the mask in its disfiguration. The narration culminates and form is lost for chemical augmentation and change. The extreme time spans from the instantaneous colour changing of the pixels in the LED matrix of the projector to the long curing of the mask using crystalisation are only able to be seen as a process and never as a whole-similar to the momentous perception of the enacted Opera.