Projected against a shop window in New York, Sniff is a 3D animated dog. He's just a computer-generated rendering, sure, but he's got personality — he reacts to your gestures, follows you around, and presented with a group, chooses favourites.
The sidewalk in front of the store has been fitted with small infrared lights, and the installation with infrared cameras; this is how Sniff, an art project designed by Karolina Sobecka and Jim George, knows where its audience is, and can anticipate which direction they're moving.
Some might see a playful interactive exhibit here, but I see something more insidious. Walking by confused, platter-eyed puppies every once in a while is a part of city life; each time you do it, you make an easy—but still present—decision not to buy that dog that evidently loves you more than anything, for some reason. With Sniff, you don't have a choice: he seems to like you, but you physically can't take him home; likewise, there no risk that your walk-by buddy is going to get incinerated at a shelter, because he isn't real. Technology, you've stolen the richness from our relationships to dogs that aren't ours. Thanks. [Sniff via Urlesque via Neatorama]