The Live Still Life

Here’s a project that brings together artist [Justus Bruns] and engineers [Rishi Bhatnagar] and [Michel Jansen] to collaborate on an interactive work of Art. The Live Still Life is a classic still life, streamed live from India to anywhere in the world. It is the first step towards the creation of an art factory, where hundreds of these works will be made, preserved and streamed.

The Live Still Life is a physical composition of fresh fruit and vegetables displayed on a table with flatware, cutlery and other still objects. This is located in a wooden box in Bangalore. Every minute a photo is taken and the image is streamed, live, accessible instantly from anywhere in the world. Les Oiseaux de Merde’s Indian curator is on call to replace the fruit the minute it starts to rot so as to maintain the integrity of the image. In this way, while the image remains the same, the fight against decay is always present. The live stream can be viewed at this link.

The hardware is quite minimal. An internet connected Raspberry Pi model B,  Raspberry Pi camera module, a desk lamp for illumination and a wooden enclosure to house it all including the artwork. Getting the camera to work was just a few lines of code in Python. Live streaming the camera pictures took quite a bit more work than they expected. The server was written using a module called Exprestify written on top of Express JS to facilitate easier RESTful functions. For something that looks straightforward, the team had to overcome several coding challenges, so if you’d like to dig in to the code, some of it is hosted on Github or you can ask [Rishi] since he still needs to clean it up quite a bit.

15 thoughts on “The Live Still Life

  1. Les Oiseaux de Merde (french for Birds of Shit)… probably a summary of most modern “art” : only understandable after many alcoolised beverages, when you start to “conceptualise” the world :)

  2. They’ve actually done a pretty good job of getting it to look similar to classical still life paintings. Seems like a bit of an over involved process for a long term photography project, but still

      1. The picture looks OK, classical still life, it’s not like it’s some weird ugly thing at this moment.

        You could make money painting it then selling it on ebay later on and piggyback on the art expression. I will dub this lean-art.

  3. What makes this not art in my view is the need for scripting from 3 hosts including google.. to see a damn picture…

    It works as a social commentary though, but it’s repeating a overstated message if you know what I mean.

  4. I simply do not get it. I can understand building a working computer from transistors or even logic gates, building complex machines that do nothing “Just because”, and many other things considered hack-worthy; but this is not one of those. I realize that at some level there is a certain equivalence, and I can get “Art for art’s sake.”, but this is not it.

    This brings to mind something I saw on a TV program: some group got several artists together to have them parallel park a car “artistically”. Unless you were aware that it was an artistic car-parking, you wouldn’t know that it was any different from any other parking situation.

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