“Suseok” (수석, 水石) is the Korean term for small, naturally-formed rocks that are valued in accordance to tradition, also known as “viewing stones.” The letter “Su” stands for “water,” while “Seok” means “rock.” For Korean artist Jihoon Byun’s latest installation “Suseok,” an exploration of nature and weather, the beauty of nature is made interactive through a thought-to-be obsolete piece of technology.
Using a Kinect depth sensor (yeah, remember those?), a small rock, and a projection, according to the blog Prosthetic Knowledge, a shallow faux-rainfall surrounds a dimly lit boulder. Only the rainfall is controlled by something unexpected—yourself. You can move your fingers and let the mist engulf your hands, only your hand isn’t hovering above the rock. You’re far removed from the fixture. The Kinect picks up your movements, and applies them to the installation’s projection.
The result for Byun’s interactive installation is a stunning one. One with active participant feedback, without interfering with the work itself. The digital rainfall is easily disrupted, or left alone to collapse around the puny stone. While the Kinect has been long abandoned by Microsoft, artists are finding use for it in fresh, visually striking ways, as evidenced by Byun’s “Suseok.”