CHAMELEON PROJECT, prototype 04 : The Search for Meaning:

ICA, London, April 2008

Lighthouse, Brighton 2009


download video example: (Quicktime, 2.6 meg)

Chameleon Project, Prototype 04 is a video installation exploring emotional dialogues. It further considers the profile aesthetic of a couple explored in Prototype 03. The figures continue to interact with each other via the ‘emotional algorithms’, working through a never-ending journey of emoting to each other as they searching for understanding.

The exhibition is designed to work with out sound. As each figure emotes, a web search captures and transposes recent text posts about emotional states. (As the man feels sad, a search begins for the most recent text written by a man about sadness). A dramatic emotional dialogue evolves, always on the threshold of making sense.


As each figure emotes, simultaneously, a search to the web is triggered - specifically to capture and transpose recent textual posts on blogs about emotional states. For example, as the man feels sad, the engine searches for the most recent text written by a man about sadness. It then transposes this text on the video. If the woman responds by feeling angry, a search to the web is triggered searching for the most recent text written by a woman that is writing about feeling angry. This is then transposed on the video. An emotional dialogue is built up between the couple, both in a visual and a textual language. The text is important in contextualizing the emotional dramas; giving further insight about the emotional dilemmas the couple are experiencing. Emotional responses are complex, arising from the relationship between environmental events, the expresser’s plans and goals, and physiological responses. Prototype 04 gives uses text to give more context to the emotional feelings.

Chameleon Project, prototype 04 poetically highlights how often, in intense emotional states, we are always on the threshold of making sense, and we are constantly searching for meaning.

Prototype 04 was built with the help of Max MSP expert, Evan Raskob, and uses the website www.wefeelfine.org


Chameleon Prototype 04 was built to work in a social environment. The piece does not emit any sound. It requires two screens, two speakers and one computer.

The project is collaboration with UK based neuroscientists prof Hugo Critchley and prof Chris Frith, affective computer scientists Prof Rosalind Picard, and Dr Rana El kaliouby at the MIT Medialab, Cambridge, and curated by Helen Sloan of SCAN. Gonsalves would like to acknowledge the in kind support from the MIT Media Lab, Banff New Media Institute, SCAN and Institute of Neurology at UCL. The project is funded by the Wellcome Trust Large Art Award, Australian Network for Art and Technology Synapse Residency, Arts Council England, Australia Arts Council inter-arts board, Australia Arts Council Visual Arts Board.
chameleon Prototype 04, Lighthouse, Brighton, March 2009
Chameleon Prototype 04, ICA London 2008
chameleon, Prototype 04, mock up