Text Rain is an interactive installation in which participants use the familiar instrument of their bodies, to do what seems magical—to lift and play with falling letters that do not really exist. In the Text Rain installation participants stand or move in front of a large projection screen. On the screen they see a mirrored video projection of themselves in black and white, combined with a color animation of falling letters. Like rain or snow, the letters appears to land on participants’ heads and arms. The letters respond to the participants’ motions and can be caught, lifted, and then let fall again. The falling text will ‘land’ on anything darker than a certain threshold, and ‘fall’ whenever that obstacle is removed. If a participant accumulates enough letters along their outstretched arms, or along the silhouette of any dark object, they can sometimes catch an entire word, or even a phrase. The falling letters are not random, but form lines of a poem about bodies and language. ‘Reading’ the phrases in the Text Rain installation becomes a physical as well as a cerebral endeavor.
Camille Utterback is a pioneering artist and programmer in the field of interactive installation.
Her work has been exhibited at galleries, festivals, and museums internationally including The New Museum of Contemporary Art, The American Museum of the Moving Image, New York; The NTT InterCommunication Center, Tokyo; The Seoul Metropolitan Museum of Art; The Netherlands Institute for Media Art; The Taipei Museum of Contemporary Art; The Center for Contemporary Art, Kiev, Ukraine; and the Ars Electronica Center, Austria. Utterback’s work is in private and public collections including The La Caixa Foundation in Barcelona, Spain.
Awards include a Transmediale International Media Art Festival Award (2005), a Rockefeller Foundation New Media Fellowship (2002) and a commission from the Whitney Museum for the CODeDOC project on their ArtPort website (2002). Utterback holds a US patent for a video tracking system she developed while working as a research fellow at New York University (2004). She was selected as a member of the ‘TR100 – the top 100 innovators of the year under 35’ by MIT’s Technology Review (2002) and by Res Magazine as artist pick of the year for their “Annual Res 10 – Ten people who are making a difference in their field” (2000). Her work has been featured in Art in America (October, 2004), Wired Magazine (February 2004), The New York Times (2003, 2002, 2001), ARTnews (2001) and many other publications. It is also included in Thames & Hudson’s ‘World of Art – Digital Art’ book (2003) by Christiane Paul.
In addition to creating her own artwork, Utterback develops long term and permanent installations for commercial and museum settings via her company Creative Nerve, Inc. Creative Nerve commissions include work for The American Museum of Natural History in New York, The Pittsburgh Children’s Museum, The Manhattan Children’s Museum, Herman Miller, Shiseido Cosmetics, and other private corporations. Her work has helped clients win industry awards including Best Showroom at Neocon, 2001 (Herman Miller), and a Communication Arts Exhibit Design award, 2002 (American Museum of Natural History).
Utterback holds a BA in Art from Williams College, and a Masters degree from The Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Camille has also taught in the MFA Design of Technology department at the Parsons School of Design, and the Interactive Telecommunication Program at New York University, both in New York City.