The interactive mirror has been a long-running staple of digital art, but its form came in galleries – Mac minis and the like stuck to walls. Now, transposed to the browser, the form becomes oddly personal and intimate. We stare into our computer screen all day. For a fleeting moment, it can look back.

Such is the experience of using ‘Gaze,’ a digital software artwork from Tehran-based Iranian artist Arash Akbari, recently featured as a Google Chrome Experiment.

Turn over permission to use your webcam and microphone, and your screen (and face) melt into murky lo-fidelity imagery, molten pixels you can drag about with your mouse or simply let smear around your screen. From your microphone, the slightest sound turns into singing drones and ambient soundscapes.

You can also choose to save images locally, and optionally share them. (Unfortunately, the interface there is a bit slow and clunky – it’s hard to catch the right moment, and then you hit some dialog boxes.)

But maybe the real gem here is the gallery of images that has produced. I’ve selected one of mine and a few favorites. Some of them are surprising – in the hands of users, the tool does unexpected things.



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Try the experiment for yourself:

Project description:

Thanks to (another Iranian) Ārash Āzādi for sending this our way.