Photosynth is a Microsoft technology that creates 3D spaces from anyone’s 2D photos. CNN has used this technology to grab the moment of the inauguration of President Obama. Asking people that were present at the inauguration (or that were watching it on TV) to send pictures of Obama, and of themselves watching him, CNN has managed to create a photomosaic of a moment in history.
Where it gets interesting is when one selects the photos that people took in their houses, while watching TV: the Photosynth technology (you will needs install the Silerlight plug-in, but it takes few seconds) allows the viewer to browse from one house to the other, following the same picture on TV, but a completely different private setting.
The result is a sort of cultural/social mosaic of modern America, a collaborative story told in silent and by simple photo shots, but that allows us to touch the multi-layared materiality of a society and its complex diversity.
Find out more:
More about Photosynth (and hundreds of thousands of synths images): photosynth.com
Watch Blaise Aguera’s Demo of Photosynth at TED talks
I find this application of Photosynth absolutely fascinating. Most of the examples I had seen so far were based on 3D reconstruction of a physical space (Photosynth’s original Demo was about the reconstruction of Paris’ Notre Dame cathedral via the use of Flickr’s photos). But by applying Photosynth to “people” one gains a tool that allows to visually link individuals via what they have in common (in the Obama case it was the sharing of his election).
For the user, or at least for me, the feeling is of jumping between one reality and another and of stretching time to potentially infinite. This is not just a clever visualization tool, it is a spacial and time surfer that uses our collective (or not) participation.
This entry was posted on Thursday, March 12th, 2009