Looking Glass (2006) is the final piece in the Project X Installation Series, which was developed during my Bachelor of Arts Degree at Concordia University, Montreal, QC, Canada (2005-2008). The Series is made up of three installations: the Bubble Project (2006), White Rain (2007), and Looking Glass (2008).
Similar to White Rain (2007), except on a larger scale, Looking Glass, uses live camera feeds to interact with prerecorded videos placed on a continuous loop and controlled by a programmed code developed with Max/Msp/Jitter software.
As viewers approach the work, the live camera feeds capture the visitors’ movements and presence – looping it back through the software program.
The program allows certain elements of the camera’s live video’s imagery to be keyed (blanked) out, causing the captured images of the visitors to overlap or replace those keyed out spaces and elements from the live cameras, in turn allowing the visitors to become participants in the development of the work
The live and morphed results are in turn projected onto two translucent vellum screen. One hung at eye level and a smaller one inside the structure’s floor.
The Looking Glass measured 12′ in length by 8′ in width and 10′ high. Participants were able to walk around the cubed enclosure which integrated 2 vellum screens – one large 4′ x 12′ screen which was suspended on one side of the installation and could be viewed from either side of the installation and the other one measuring 5′ x 6′ was suspended just above the floor inside the cube.
Two live cameras were used to capture the participants’ presence and movement around the cube and filtered through three prerecorded video loops which were then projected onto the vellum screens
Thoughts on Looking Glass:
With the project Looking Glass, I was exploring how the past (images from the prerecorded video loops) are intercepted by the present (images through the live cams), which merge to create possible new interpretations of the future.
The work also looks at how memories can be reconstructed by the intervention of the present day media, such as TV, coding, and social media, to reconstruct personal, social and cultural history and identity.
Andrew Hoskins points out in his essay Mediating Time: The Temporal Mix of Television. Time and Society, that:
“Media can paradoxically create and recreate an apparently certain past through their command of visual images, which are both parts of the landscape of modern life and the very essence of human memory. Thus, although the individual remains (or appears as) the real, authentic or original holder of memory, there can be no doubt that remembering is a process that today is increasingly media-afflicted” (110).
As web-based media moves towards a passive, opaque, interactive technology – fueled by corporate interests such as Facebook, YouTube, and MySpace (social networking) or Google (dissemination of information) – our experiences and interactions become selectively depended on coded software. This, in turn, predetermines how, where and who, we interact with. If we look even further at the field of biotechnology, with its exploration of genetic coding and GMOs, an urgent need arises to critically discuss the future implications of such interventions regarding agency and identity.
María Fernández elaborates in her essay Postcolonial Media Theory, that:
“In the late 1980s and early 1990s, electronic media theory debates focused on the preeminence of the virtual body; in the late 1990s the body is altogether irrelevant. More interesting in current theory are discussions about genetic technologies and artificial life. As with other live entities, humans are viewed primarily as patterns of information transferable to various media, such as computers. In this scheme of things, embodiment is secondary; the organism has been replaced by its code.”
Further Related Reading & Articles:
Fernández, María. Postcolonial Media Theory. Art Journal, Vol. 58, No. 3 (Autumn, 1999), pp. 58-73. PDF (accessed 2008, 2018).[/vc_column_text]
Naccarato. Project X Series (vs. 03). Vellum (4’ x 9’, 4’ x 5’), computer, Max/MSP/Jitter software, two live webcams synced and interfaced with three video loops. In this photo images of the spectator can also be made out on the vellum, seemingly appearing in the distance of the collaged video works intersecting their presence. Concordia University, Montreal, Canada. 2007.