Hungry Hungry Eat Head from Bren O'Callaghan on Vimeo.

Hungry Hungry Eat Head

A site-specific play experience by Hudson-Powell & Joel Gethin Lewis for the Big Screen Edinburgh, produced by myself. Commissioned originally by City of Edinburgh Council, with further development (phase 2) made possible by AND: Abandon Normal Devices Festival of New Cinema and Digital Culture.

Using video-tracking technology that exchanges pattern markers for augmented 3D animations, Hungry Hungry Eat Head is a fun and playful experience for the wider public to engage with – and the first time this technology had been used at any of the UK towns and cities in the expanding Big Screen network. By relaying a live overhead camera feed of the public space upon the 25-metre square LED monitor, the effect is that of a ‘magic mirror’ where the viewer’s own reflection shifts and changes before their eyes.

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Markers were distributed on site during the event and by holding these up facing outwards, the heads of participants were replaced by grinning monsters, spotted frogs and a strange array of abstract creatures. With no specific goal and no way to win in the traditional sense, competition became unadulterated play in what could be described as a contemporary update to the classic fairground hall of mirrors – the viewer creates his or her own narrative by adopting perceived personalities to suit their distorted image.

One unexpected effect of the mesmerising soundtrack from Sound & Sons was that many just stood hypnotized, transported to a beatific state of retro TV bliss, rocking on the spot – staring – pacified and oddly becalmed by the sight of furry cuboid with fangs in place of their own fair mug. Everyone loved clutching and waving the cardboard markers, freed from the snobbish associations of pocket hardware and somehow more magical for it.

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