Living Shadows

Have you ever wondered what would happen if your shadow had a life of its own? IIIM specialists Gunnar Steinn Valgardsson (Chief Technology Developer, demo author) and Hrafn Thorri Thórisson (concept author, advisor) introduced the LivingShadows project to discover just that. The LivingShadows program scans a person’s outline and transforms it into an interactive figure. Rather than being a mere projection, it is its own entity. The shadows act independently so that people can interact with their own shadows, and their shadows can interact with other shadows.

Most of IIIM projects are entirely scientifically motivated, but LivingShadows plays on the border of technology and art.

Worldwide Interconnectivity

Future versions of LivingShadows will enable people all over the world to connect their installations together.

LivingShadows: Scenario Example

Entering the hallway, the viewer sees a series of shadow figures moving along the wall. The figures are standing about, sitting down, some of them come and go on their way to unknown destinations. One shadow seems to be reading a newspaper, another paces back and forth while looking at her watch.

The only traces of their hidden world are revealed by the shadows on the wall. The viewer steps in front of the wall and see their shadow appear on the wall. The shadows stop for a moment to stare at him, then return to their business. The participant waves at the shadow reading the newspaper. The shadow puts down his paper and waves back. One by one he interacts with the other shadows in the virtual waiting room. Finally, the participant waves both his arms and suddenly it begins to rain. All of the shadows take out umbrellas to shelter them from the rain.

Open Day Presentation: The Day my Shadow left me

This presentation was held on IIIM Open Day spring 2012 by Gunnar Steinn & Hrafn Thorri.

The 2012 IIIM Open Day was held in collaboration with RU’s Center for Analysis and Design of Intelligent Agents (CADIA), which is one of its closest collaborators making for very impressive and interesting presentations.


Gunnar Steinn Valgardsson – gunnarsteinn at
Hrafn Thorri Thórisson – h.thorisson at


The demo installation is open for anyone to visit and interact with. The installation is on the second floor of Reykjavik University’s wing “Uranus”. Floor plans follow below. Make sure to monitor our news For information on how to find Reykjavik University and IIIM, please see our contact page.

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