Being Ignored from the Invisible Project


Session Title:

  • Visualization & Documentary

Presentation Title:

  • Being Ignored from the Invisible Project




  • It is an exploratory interactive painting to raise awareness of the homeless people in Porter County, Indiana, in the United States. This is a part of The Invisible Project, which is a mobile exhibition designed to increase public awareness and understanding of homelessness, in collaboration with the Welcome Project and four area non-profits located in Valparaiso, Indiana.

    Initially, The Invisible Project began with a casual conversation with homeless women at Dayspring Women’s Center, located in Valparaiso, Indiana. It is a shelter for women and their children who are or were homeless. They shared traumatic experiences of being persecuted by the public and police. They were often treated as being invisible or criminal even though they didn’t commit any crime.

    For instance, a homeless woman with her teenager daughter were seated in a park in Porter County. Others at the park reported them to the police. The police approached them and warned them to keep away from the park, since their presence seemed to make people in the community scared and fearful. Porter County is a relative wealthy county in Northwest Indiana compared to neighboring counties. The Invisible Project is a partnership between the Welcome Project, the Porter County Coalition for Affordable Housing, Housing Opportunities, Gabriel’s Horn, Dayspring Women’s Center, and the Porter County Museum.

    My work, “Being Ignored”, is a painting using light and computer code. It is an interdisciplinary project crossing boundaries between painting, photography, computer art, and journalism. It aims to recognize the dignity and humanity of those who are homeless. A computer screen (the “canvas”), displays real time images captured through a web camera that is installed invisibly on the top of the computer screen. As viewers move toward the screen, the web camera captures the viewer’s portrait and display it on the computer screen. The computer code will eliminate the viewer’s facial expression in order to convey the concept of being ignored.

    To implement the visual idea, I used Processing, a programming language for artists and designers, with a video library, Mirror, to detect faces through an external web camera. The visual style is inspired by Impressionism, which is a 19th century art movement that captures a moment in time,and Expressionism, such as Edvard Munch’s The Scream, which expresses a psychological theme.