The Speulum is an interactive installation which hides itself whenever it senses any cameras trying to capture it. The installation comprises a standing two-way mirror box with a hanging ‘exhibit’ inside and an object detection camera on the top. During the normal state when the audience views the installation without any actions, the ‘exhibit’ remains lit in a repetitive, mirrored environment that is spacious, isolated, and ephemeral. However, the surveilled state is triggered when someone tries to take a picture of the exhibit, the light is off, and one can only capture a mirrored image of oneself
In physics, the observer effect is the theory that the mere observation of a phenomenon inevitably changes that phenomenon. The Speculum tries to interpret the observer effect on a human-computer interaction level. The human(audience) and the installation(computer) are observing each other at the same time, does the installation alter the human behaviour by luring them to take photos, or the other way round, the human’s behaviour changes the computer’s reaction?
An object detection camera plays a crucial role in the installation. A computer-vision neural networks model, mobilenet-ssd, is deployed to a Raspberry Pi for object detection. When the Pi Camera detects any capturing devices like mobile phones or cameras, it turns off the LED. The two-way mirror box can block other light sources outside the box while isolating the LED as the key light; therefore the visibility of the exhibit can be solely controlled by the LED light. Without the LED light the box appears as a mirror.