Recollections Six


Recollections Six is an interactive video installation that invites the participant to move in front of a large video projection screen. As the person moves, their image is recorded by a video camera and passed on to a computer with special image processing capabilities. The person’s silhouette or outline is extracted, assigned a color based on the instant that it was recorded, and projected onto the screen.  Over time the images build up, creating a painting based on the movement. Simultaneously the colors are “rotated”, creating an animation in “real-time”. Two hundred fifty-six colors can be displayed on the screen at one time, from a palette of over 16 million. The palette and effects change in a pre-programmed sequence, repeating approximately every five minutes. Since people are always doing new things with the exhibit, the images never repeat. Each installation is unique. New software is constantly being developed and incorporated into new works.

To date, there have been over 100 Recollections systems installed worldwide. Recollections is an Artwork completed by the viewer; it is a collaboration.  Even the most inhibited people seem to rise to the occasion and create beautiful images. Using it is an unforgettable experience for many, with educational benefits in the areas of color, form, movement, and computer graphics.

In the beginning, when Recollections was first developed under the Artist in Residence program at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, it was unique. The year was 1981. Computers were just becoming “personal”, and video was analog, not digital. To realize the concept, I needed to design and build some unique hardware consisting of a 4-bit frame buffer interfaced with an Apple II computer. The resolution was 256×240 with 16 colors on-screen at a time. My color palette was 4096 colors. The work was an immediate success, and many systems were installed in other museums. Since then, I have continued to improve the Recollections system, in part due to the inevitable obsolescence of the technologies I use. The hardware migrated to special boards I designed and installed into PCs.  At best, the displayable resolution of Recollections II and III was 512×240 with 256 colors at a time.

A couple of years ago I started using progressive scan firewire cameras and standard video cards on PCs, which allowed me to create new effects at a resolution of 640×480 in Recollection IV. This also allowed the use of modern video projectors instead of the three gun monsters of the past. I progressed to XGA, then 720P, and now full high-definition video cameras are available with uncompressed input to computers, and computers are fast enough to process their data in real-time. Recollections Six has full HD resolution (1920×1080) from the camera through to the projector. The processed frame rate remains at 30fps, so the movements are fluid. Setup is easier than ever with the new system, with special setup and diagnostic modes built into the software. The computer will boot up from a circuit breaker power-up and be turned off the same way. It is a Linux-based system so it is robust and completely turn-key. The software is on a flash memory stick or SSD so there is no hard disk or floppy to crash. 

I continue to offer upgrades to my existing customers at reasonable costs to present to the public my latest and best work. Please feel free to contact me for more information.

Space Requirements: Recollections Six is installed in two basic ways; utilizing either front projection or rear projection. Both need a darkened space, but with the front projection system, it is especially critical. The front projection system is 16 feet wide by 16 feet deep.  Video walls with 4 or 9 screens also work, as well as one large LCD monitor.  Larger sizes and multi-screen, multi-effect versions are also available for large venues.


  • Proprietary hardware, software, camera, camera mount with light source, cables, consulting
  • LCD or DLP Video Projector
  • Projection Screen 6′ x 10′ 8″ (nominal) 16×9 format (can be painted with screen paint, and can be larger)
  • Optionally hard Rear-Projection Screen
  • Retro-Reflective Screen 8’x16′
  • Casing (front projection version)