Duck and Cover is an interactive installation that was presented in November 2012 in the Supernova T-34 exhibition that took place in StudioP52, Barcelona.


The theme of the exhibition was inspired by the 2012 "end of the world phenomenon".
The 2012 phenomenon comprises a range of eschatological beliefs according to which cataclysmic or transformative events will occur on the 21st December 2012. This date is regarded as the end-date of a 5,125-year-long cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar.
StudioP52 presented a selection of works by 25 international artists who propose different lectures of the possible changes that would be made before this hypothetical radical mutation of reality.

The idea of this installation came from an American urban myth that says that in case of a nuclear attack the people should protect themselves with a paper bag and duck under a table. This idea also appears in a scene from the "Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy" movie during a dialog between Ford and a bartender:

"Bartender: You really think the world's gonna end?
Ford: Yes.
Bartender: Shouldn't we lie down? Put paper bags over our heads or something?
Ford: If you like.
Bartender: Would it help?
Ford: Not at all. "

Another source of inspiration was the photographic project called "Masquerade" made by the illustrator Saul Steinberg the photographer Inge Morath that featured people with paper bags on their heads.

So this is how it came the idea of an installation that automatically snaps photos of people that cover with a paper bag and duck under a table.

The Process

The installation was made with a computer, a display, a dslr camera, a flash and a kinect sensor that was used to detect the moment when the people "duck" under the table. The openframworks platform was used to get the data from the kinect sensor, to process it and to trigger the dslr camera.

In the moment when a user was detected in front of the installation the following "instructions" video was displayed.
Duck and Cover from Ovidiu Cincheza on Vimeo.
(thanks to Hannes Andersson for the video edit and Laila Tafur for acting)

After the user sees the video should follow the instructions, put the paper bag over the head and duck under the table. The table was drawn on the photographic background (thanks again to Hannes).