Hi-Tech Burton

Burton Morris Studios and The Carnegie Mellon University Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) worked together in a unique project to help link Pop Art and Technology in a new creative environment.

The Carnegie Mellon University Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) is a joint initiative between the School of Computer Science and the College of Fine Arts.

Burton’s images were transformed into kinetic art infused with motion and Inter-activity.  Three innovative freestanding pieces were created as limited edition works of art.

Working closely with the ETC computer programmers, engineers, sound technicians and designers, three concepts were developed that involve viewer interaction, facial recognition technology and movement.  Each concept was rendered into freestanding pieces of art that react to the viewer’s responses.

Red Light, Green Light features art that is animating subtly on an LCD panel.  When a guest walks up to the screen, facial detection software determines if they are looking at the art, at which point the animation will freeze until they look away.  The combination of seeing the animation out of the corner of one’s eye, a gradual change in background color, and subtle intermittent sounds will compel the guest to re-examine the image.

Popcorns links a series of three networked panels of popcorn box artwork.  Free-floating popcorn kernels hover in space.  Web cams detect where the greatest number of people are located in front of the three panels, and the kernels will all regroup to that section of the artwork.


Photo-Interaction turns the Paparazzi Photographer image into a photo-mosaic, comprised of smaller pictures tiled and tinted to make up the larger image.  When a guest walks by the screen, the flash bulb in the art will flash and a picture of the guest is taken. This photo will then replace an older image in the mosaic, becoming part of the art.


The idea was born out of Burton Morris’ desire to find a new artistic outlet for his view of pop culture icons.  Realizing that technology itself is one of the strongest expressions of our modern day culture, he felt that it would be a natural extension to marry technology to his artwork to express his view at a new level.  Educated at Carnegie Mellon University, it was an obvious step to “look back” to CMU in order to leap forward into a whole new world.  Carnegie Mellon University is at the cutting edge of mixing technology and art and its roots in Pop Art include the education of Andy Warhol.  It was a very unique opportunity for Burton to partner with the CMU ETC to create something entirely new in the current post-Pop art world.

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