On the 10th of May, I rented the necessary equipment and had the university studio booked for a test-run of the multi-media installation linked to my practical thesis. For this experiment, I invited several participants to come and experience the installation, playing close attention to and documenting what they spent most time viewing.
To give you an idea, the final installation involves three phases; the first phase features a painting mounted on a wall and surrounded by semi-hidden cameras (look at my previous blog to get an idea of the painting), the second involves a four-monitor display set up in a separate (yet connected) space, and the last phase is a projection of moving image on the wall.
For yesterday’s purpose, the experiment was a small-scale version of the final installation that I have proposed for my thesis, involving roughly half the amount of equipment and an unfinished painting.
Using windows as a metaphor to explain the external positioning imparted upon viewers when looking at an image as an abstraction from a whole entity, along with the tacit form of knowledge discussed in my thesis which contains an analysis of the still and moving image, I have designed an installation that placed its viewer as the subject; catching them completely off guard by sectioning each phase of the installation separately from the others. In this way, the viewers did not see what was coming, and how they were to form part of the work.
What they first saw was a painting. The painting was of a woman standing behind a half closed window, as though she is about to open or draw the curtains.
Monitor display: at this point, due to some technical problems, two of the feeds were put down, leaving the two monitors to display the same feeds. This did not alter the effect of the small-scale test run.
Whilst the viewers were looking at the painting, the four semi-hidden cameras recorded them as they observed. These cameras sent the feed directly onto two display monitors which were set up in a small room. This section comprised the second phase of the installation – or at least, a test-run of the installation. The monitors did not simply display the live feed as it were, but rather – with the help of a software, incorporated a different amount of delay within each of the four feeds. This delay allowed the viewers to observe themselves observing a painting. I wanted them to distinguish between the physical involvement of experiencing something (in this case a painting), and an extraction of that real experience through a camera. At a later stage, the viewers were presented with a wall projection that featured the live feeds imposed into the windows of a house, as though they were looking at segments of their own experience through the eyes of another person by looking through the windows of a house they had never stepped foot in.
I could write more and more on the analysis of my piece, but I made a promise to keep this shorter than my academic writings. I do hope to release more information soon, so as per usual – stay tuned!
Sadly, the quality of the images are not great. There was too much excitement within me to attend to my picture-taking skills. One thing I should mention is that due to the available space I was working with, the actual projection of the moving image was weak because of the light that entered the studio. Once I noticed how hard it was for my viewers to make out what was going on, I began asking them to look at the laptop screen in order to improvise with the given situation.
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