about The Track in the Mirror

This project was created in year 2000 as a co-operation between the artist Flemming Brantbjerg and software engineers Esben Hansen and Christen Monberg, based on an idea by Flemming Brantbjerg. It is presented as a part of Stedet3.

The basis of the project is the observation that the Internet displays a lot of images, technically submitted in the form of image-files. In conjunction with the factual text, the images is what gives the Internet its visual life. As surfers cruise around in Cyberspace, they leave a track of images behind. That track is displayed by this program in a 2½-dimensional space.

The user-interface is straight-forward. The underlying mechanics, however, is far from trivial. When the user clicks 'Mal' ('Paint'), the assembled web-addresses are first read and registered. The addresses lead to documents, in the so-called HTML format, om servers around the world. These files do not contain images directly, but they contain references to image files. The program parses the HTML files and collects all references to image files.

Now, the image files themselves are fetched. There can be a quite substantial number, up to 10-20 per web page, or more. Some of the images are commercial banners, they are sorted out right away. The rest are all analyzed for parameters such as color saturation, contrast, average color, deviation, form factor (width:height), size and transparency. Based on these parameters the program now decides if and how the image shall be resized, stretched, and positioned. It is then superimposed onto the final image. The time of day is used to calculate a basic color for the image.

Lastly, the new image is transferred to a server, where it is accessible for all users to see. This server will eventually contain all images produced by the program.

The program is written in Java v.1.1, using Borland Jbuilder3.

During the next year we will develop more advanced versions of the program. Based on an analysis of the incoming images on the server, the parameters will be fine-ajusted, and we will continually develop and test new algoritms for the painting process. Also, is is planned that the user shall be able to type her/his name and e-mail and participate in a competition for creating the best Track-in-the-Mirror image.

Have fun.