Motion and Code: Explorations

For a long time, I have been interesting in capturing the style of Italian master and other icons in visual art history in code and displaying it as a live camera view. It would be interesting to see the world with the eyes of these masters and will open a window into understanding Modern art for a lot of people. Below are 4 examples of such works, but more are underway:


Slitscan imaging techniques are used to create static images of time-based phenomena. In traditional film photography, slit scan images are created by exposing film as it slides past a slit-shaped aperture. In the digital realm, thin slices are extracted from a sequence of video frames, and concatenated into a new image.

Eddie Elliott, one of the earliest researchers of digital slit-scan imaging, keeps a related list which is more oriented towards photography, early cinema and flipbooks. There is now a Flickr tag for slitscan images, and many of the latest and informal productions can be seen there.

Live Demonstration here
Github link here


The Hand of the Violinist
Giacomo Balla
1912, Italy

Futurist painter Giacomo Balla painted this artwork call the “The Hand of the Violinist'“ in 1912 in which he captured the movement of the hands in a particle like arrangement.

If looked closely the particles move in a hyperbolic manner with its center at the corner of the picture. Below, I tried incorporating the same effect on a black and white live video that I captured from my webcam with one difference. The particles instead of moving in a hyperbolic fashion, move in random straight lines mimicking gaseous particles in space.

Live Demonstration here
Github link here


Giacomo Balla first captured the motion of his subject in his iconic futurist work he titled “Girl Running on a Balcony”. The painting transforms every frame of the movement into a pixelated posture which not only gives the composition but the colours a dynamism too.

This effect is one of my favourites and should be tested against a brightly lit background and with vibrant colours for best result. Below, I tried incorporating the same effect on a black and white live video that I captured from my webcam.

Live demonstration here
Github link here




Some other futurist inspirations that made me explore more about the dynamism of movement involved in Futurist paintings were by legends like Carlo Carra, Giacomo Balla and others.

Almost all of these painting overlays multiple frames and angles of an action in space and time. Though many representations also had the influence of Cubism in them, my code only capture the movement overlays.

Live demonstration here
Github link here