If you didn’t take a selfie, were you really even there? It’s a question Cactus co-founders Marcelo Pontes, Noah Waxman, and Lucas Werthien observed millennials grappling with at Color Factory. The interactive New York exhibition features Instagram-worthy installations by the firm, but visitors often spend more time trying to snap the perfect photo than participating in the playful environments. “They really miss the moment because they’re staring at their phones,” Waxman says.
Enter Mira, or look in Spanish, which Werthien speaks. The mounted automatic camera is set on a timer and activated by scanning a QR code, then delivers studio-quality images to an online gallery for easy sharing. “It’s like an elevated photo booth,” he explains. Framing, lenses, and lighting are all calibrated by professional photographers working remotely. Cactus sees other useful applications for Mira, too. “It can offer a lot of valuable input at the architectural design phase,” Pontes adds. But for now, it’s in use at Color Factory, where visitors can capture themselves floating in a giant plastic-ball pit, and at Sloomoo Institute, smart phones nowhere to be seen.