Archive for March, 2008

17
Mar
08

MADA 2: Assessment Evidence….

 

For a Project Report: Click Here    

 

For a video demonstrating a prototype for the installation: Click Here  

 

For further Contextualisation of this project: Click Here  

 

For Information on the progress of the final installation: Click Here

 

For information on my progress with Pure Data and Arduino: Click Here

 

For examples of video experiments: Click Here

 

For information on my website: Click Here

 

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17
Mar
08

MADA2: project report…

To reflect upon my projects progress I need to re-familiarise myself with elements of my original proposal to evaluate how my work has developed since these first ideas.

One of my objectives was to look at a selection of non-places that had the most relevance to me (these being the motorway, underground and the supermarket) with the intention eventually focusing on just one.  Through a process my project is now focused on the motorway as a space.

Broadly speaking, the aim of my proposal was to explore how the non-place affects the individual, and in turn what is the individuals affect on it. To focus this further I intended to investigate, firstly, the importance of movement, and to what extent does movement define the non-place? And secondly, to look at processes in how we may identify and relate to this space. 

With regards to how movement affects how we experience the non-place; I found that the motorway exemplifies in many ways how we experience our modern world, which is as one of accelerated movement buffeted by a constant flow of people and information where everyday experience is increasingly about a fast-paced flow of imagery.  On the motorway our senses are fragmented by speed and repetition, where the sights, tastes, smells and sounds are reduced to a two-dimensional view through a car windscreen.  The speed in which we travel through the space means that we are always in a state of distraction, having to deal with a barrage of visual stimuli.  This has led me to question that because of this accelerated experience, we have we learned to overlook the subtlety and detail of the landscape? And what consequences does this have on how we may identify with the space? 

Because of this constant movement our relationship with the motorway is transient and temporary, and one of the observations that I have made about the non-space is, that like our experience of it, examples of identity within the the space can also be evanescent.  It is the bag that blows through and away from the suffocating trees that stand on the roadside, the last dregs of a Starbucks coffee emptied out onto a hard shoulder that eventually washes away or the flowers that slowly biodegrade on our central reservations.  We experience this space in a state of continuous transience and like our presence; particular examples of identity within this space are also transient.  They are temporary and eventually disappear.  It is these subtle interventions of fleeting identity that I want my project to draw attention too. 

Although this is only a brief evaluation of the observations I have made during this unit, I do feel that my project is well focused now.  I was unsure that when writing my proposal that my initial areas of interest (movement and processes of identity) where too different from one another to convincingly work together.  I thought I may end up having to focus on just one aspect of this proposal.  But as my research has evolved I have found that the two different aspects are intrinsically linked.  This has given my work a good focus and a solid foundation from which to build upon for now and for the future. 

In addition to this and something that I have learned form this unit particularly is that this project is not a finite thing.  I see that my practice will continue to be an ever-evolving investigation into the different ways in which we experience and identify with space.  This project specifically focuses on the motorway as a space exploring how we affect it and how it affects us. But I feel that this area of study has inestimable possibilities for further work and exploration.

14
Mar
08

MADA 2: Prototype….

 

Above is a video of the prototype for my installation.  I’ve split the footage into two scenes that run simultaneously in real time.

On the left is my position in relation to the ultrasonic sensors, and on the right are the changes in video based upon my positioning.

When there is no presence within the installation (or more to the point, in front of the sensors) the imagery stays in flux.  When an individual is sensed the imagery changes into something more identifiable. 

Based upon the positioning of the individual the videos will either simultaneously play and be able to be stopped and played independently.  This is demonstrated here by me approaching and retreating from the sensors.

By individuals either purposefully or inadvertently starting or stopping the footage, the composite of the video will change.  By the end of the show the overall video will have been shaped by the people whose presence affected it.  It will have shaped a new identity based upon these events.

I may record the show in real time from Pure Data, this may have to be done in pieces or by just exporting the start and the end results?

Although it would be interesting to have a record of how the work changes, there is also a part of me that feels that the changes should just be temporary, and not recorded, so that they are eventually lost, much like dropping litter on a motorway…

The technology is a little sketchy here and the footage is still experimental, and I would like to incorporate sound as well, but it works for the purpose of a prototype. In a way I kind of like its erraticness, its like it doesn’t want to be controlled and this can produce some interesting imagery.

In the final installation I intend for the sensors to be placed on the opposite wall to the screen so that the individuals walk away from the sensors, not towards as demonstrated here (but it just a case of reversing the values in Pure Data) This is a piece of work that needs to be specifically honed to a space. 

12
Mar
08

the lights…

I’m not quite sure what it is yet about the lights on the motorway that I find so compelling.  Maybe it’s their temporal nature, the fact that they only come out at night? Maybe it is because they are something that we all share when within this space? Maybe it is their purpose, which is to guide our journeys? Maybe it is how they weightlessly float past us when driving? Maybe it’s because they are like stars? Maybe it is because they are a rare find of beauty in a space so aesthetically grotesque? 

10
Mar
08

website: the works virtual identity….

The timetable that I set myself for this project wanted to have the technical elements in place and understood by the start of March, this would then allow me 3 months (March, April, May) for filming leaving me one month (June) for selection, composition (Along with the organisation of the show and technical fine tuning of a space etc) 

I am glad to say that I am on time with this project and have been filming for the past couple of weeks.  Even in this short space of time I have accumulated quite a substantial amount of footage and if this rate of capture continues by June I will have a much greater volume of footage than that I will be able to use for my final piece. (This is due to the fact that Pure Data processes video in real time, the amount of video you can render simultaneously is determined by the amount of RAM the computer possesses.  I need to test the computers at Camberwell to see how much footage they will happily run, but I know that it is going to be less that the amount of footage I will capture!) 

Still, this is ok because it allows me to carefully select what footage I will use and experiment with different types of imagery to find a combination that most successfully communicates my projects intentions.

The potential downside to this is that I will be left with a rather large amount of footage that could never be used therefore not seen.  Foreseeing this happening I have chosen to build a website that will act as the works virtual identity and host the footage that would have otherwise been lost.  I want the site to be investigative, and not necessarily explanatory.  I have designed a homepage that resembles a helix of DNA, the building blocks of identity.

website1.jpg 

Through clicking on the dots you will be able to access video, audio or still images.  It is my intention to continue to add to the site as my project progresses so that its identity evolves along with my work.        

I feel that the footage I do not use for practical reasons may still capture elements of identity that would otherwise have been lost.  The website would aim to ensure that an infinitesimal amount of identity that a space possessed at a specific point in time does not vanish along with everything else.  I think as a sentiment, everyone can associate with something lost.    

   

05
Mar
08

a world in flux….

I’ve been experimenting with footage trying to achieve a visual interpretation of constant flux.  This relates to how we experience the non-space at speed, as a constant blur where narratives break down and our senses fragmented.  

This idea for footage would become the imagery that plays when there is no presence within the installation, when an individual is not present to affect the work.  For this I have been experimenting with different composite modes.  

I found this process to be quite involving and evolving!  The different combinations of composite modes produce very different results.  Below are a selection of short videos that demonstrate my process.

 

 

 

05
Mar
08

Paul Virilio: The Aesthetics of Disappearance…..

virilio.jpg 

 

Paul Virilio’s The Aesthetics of Disappearance considers the motivations and repercussions of a contemporary society fascinated by speed.

Speed, or velocity, is understood literally as space (distance) mapped against time (duration), reaching its absolute limit in light, which collapses both space and time.  Virilio is attuned precisely to the culturally correlated obsession with moving (driving, flying, riding) at high speeds and viewing (watching) moving (light) images. At this limit, light (absolute speed) dissolves the dualism suspended between these phenomena, that of embodied motion and that of disembodied stimulus.

Entwined within his writings is a socio-political narrative, one that Virilio articulates has a direct relationship between speed and power: a speed that affects invisibility, and an invisibility that affects power. 

When writing of Howard Hughes, who was one of the wealthiest people in the world and setter of multiple air speed records, Virilio notes that for the last quarter of his life Hughes, having pursued traditional avenues of wealth and having indeed accumulated quite a fortune, became a recluse of a particular sort of reclusion predicated on conjuring an inertia via speed. Faced with his impending death and haunted by the seeming transience of his material fortune, Hughes attempted a certain spatio-temporal simultaneity, parking the same unused cars and airplanes at airports across country, watching from his bed the same films again and again, and, in 1938, breaking the world air record for circumnavigating the world and then parking his triumphant airplane in the precise place it had stood before he had departed.

In enacting such loops, Hughes effects a certain omnipresent banality, the effect of remaining same across time and space. In the obsession with speed that occupies the latter portion of Hughes’ life Virilio argues that the real object of Hughes’ desire is not speed but rather an absolute power, a power as much over ones own physical mortality as over other people.

The example of Hughes speaks more generally of the insidious duplicity of speed.  Hughes is himself seduced by the reflexive narcotic of speed and its effectual weakening of embodied consciousness via the sensory dismissal of embodied temporality. 

Reading this book has made me think further about how it is temporal events, accumulative or singular, that shape this space.  I feel that it is these events that give this otherwise anonymous space an identity yet it is speed, movement and continuous transience that counteracts our ability to experience the non-space as an accumulation of our own incidences.