The Street-an interactive video wall
RMIT Heat : The Art of Climate Change Exhibition in Melbourne 2008 and ISEA2009 Belfast
The Street is a large panoramic reactive screen projection, a poetic docu-drama in genre.
The overall background ‘Street” image, (a typical city street in Bendigo, Victoria)
remains still until a proximate section is activated by an audience member by approaching the video sensors. This project builds on the concept behind my last few projects, where audience motion has triggered increasing degrees of intimacy (Understanding Echo 2000 ) or moved the sound track from one screen to another (Triple Echo 2002) or tracked the audience around a space, assigning a video character to an individual observer (Hosts 2006). A seamless scrolling image of the street is projected onto the wall of the space synchronously with the motion of an audience member, such that the assigned house appears to lock on to their particular member. The house in question will then appear to track the user and move alongside them as they walk. Once in this mode, any prolonged pause in movement by the viewer halts the image scrolling, and triggers short video and sound narrative/ overlays associated only with the assigned house. These will be based on aspects of the extractive history of Bendigo and its effects on the ecology, both natural and social, visualized through a spoken poetic narrative and synchronous video piece.
The installation was based on an array of three seamlessly linked projectors (Matrox board), using the tracking of human presence through sensor technology, developed by Ian Wilcox and Anthony Rowe. This was based on video motion sensing and interpretative software. I aimed to create a series of these sound and video scenes or vignetted visual poems, based on my experiences of the diverse communities of Bendigo during a residency in 2007. They related to aboriginal and ethnic Chinese histories, to gold-mining and to the drought and its effects on agriculture through specific observed narratives.
Since these are fleetingly revealed at different positions on the panoramic screen, when triggered by the viewer’s movement in the gallery space, they allowed for both active and passive modes of audience consumption. The random allocation of a house to a particular visitor enhanced both the curiosity of the “active” viewer and an observing “passive” audience by encouraging them to explore the associated narratives for each house.