The next couple days were a mix of lectures and performances. I’d kind of given up on my camera for the rest of HAIP, but there are photos of most of these things available on the Kiberpipa website. Day 3 is here, and Day 4 is here.
Sheena Macrae talk:
Wednesday was a lecture from a Canadian video artist named Sheena Macrae. One of her big things is taking films or TV shows and finding ways to condense them or re-present them. She showed a sped-up version of Pulp Fiction: the entire film accelerated to play in 5 minutes, set to Misirlou, of course. It was actually surprisingly watchable. She also showed an accelerated version of Gone With the Wind, with pauses for the moments when Scarlett O’Hara says “I’ll think about that tomorrow,” a line she repeats three times in the film. Ms. Macrae also presented a compressed version of one whole season of the TV series Dallas. Rather than simply speeding it up, she layered all the episodes on top of one another, so you’d wind up watching an entire season in the time of a single episode. She showed another little pastiche with the characters from Dallas constantly drinking.
She said she’d chosen to work with Dallas because it was such a universal cultural touchstone, and popular all over the world. This may be true, but it’s also totally before my time. I’ve never seen the show and know next to nothing about it (Who Shot J.R. was from Dallas, right?).
A Small Contribution to the Genesis of Everyday Life:
Afterwards, was a performance entitled “A Small Contribution to the Genesis of Everyday Life”. This was another sort of glitch-feedback project, that involved hooking the performers up to electrodes and then having them move around and touch things. The results were displayed on the projector, but also on a CRT monitor, which puts out a lot of E&M, further contributing to the feedback. Also the output was apparently “fed-back” to the performers themselves: in other words, they would receive electrical shocks depending on what they were doing.
They showed video shot by some visitors to an installation of theirs called Ombea, which I thought was really good. Basically it’s a spooky/atmopheric room, with the lights (and some hidden speakers) wired to computer control. They use a couple cameras to monitor how much guests are moving around in the room. The more they move, the darker the room gets, and the louder and more frightening the sounds from the speakers become. The effect is actually quite scary. In order to get the room to be bright and quiet, participants have to overcome their natural inclination to run around frantically in response to the frightening stimuli (there’s also an “emergency” killswitch, to stop the program, if it’s too overwhelming for somebody).
I also liked the fact that as part of the presentation, Kohout talked about some of the technical challenges they faced. For example, using the cameras to monitor movement, they had to figure out how to not have the system be affected by the changes in lighting levels.
Another artwork they presented is called Moonwalk, and the medium is actually YouTube. It’s basically an infinitely-receding set of YouTube progress bars. Sadly, YouTube has added an extra button to their interface since the video was made, so it kind of breaks the illusion a bit. Still worth a look, though.