Moshe Ladanga

Prototype Documentation

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I. Single Camera Video Loop

This first test was taken with a handheld cam, but recorded on the Imac. The slight shifts of movement by my hand reveals the fluid geometry and delay of the feedback loop. The loop creates a strange virtual space, where the repetition of the frames suggest a corridor, but when our image intrudes, we are reminded of its illusion. This gets more clear in the second experiment below:

The effect on how we perceive is different when we are in front of a mirror, inspecting an image of ourselves. The effect is more like seeing your shadow, an objectification of the self-image. But watching the replications makes you aware of your body, as you try to match your movement (or more specifically, your awareness) of your image to the reflections on the screen.

The footage below are two experiments in which we turned the camera 90 and 180 degrees respectively. Both exhibit properties that are distinct; it’s really strange that a slight change in the camera’s angle alters the way the virtual space is perceived.

Here, in the video above, the delay is even more distinct, images spiral into the center. When many elements enter the frame, the escher-like dimension creates a multitude that has a particular synchronicity. The feedback loop, because of its repetition and the slight delay with each layer, is sort of akin to a rhythmic dispersal of events over time, and the virtual space created by the frames completes the illusion, forming a “well” or a “tunnel”. I think the frames do have a powerful effect; when they are seen (and repeated into the video loop), they evoke a “cavern”, the visual form that philosophy and psychology often evoke when describing consciousness.

Perception does play in how the individual conceives the world; the video feedback loop hints at this intersection of perception and conception, but it needs to be studied more if ever we decide to focus on evoking this space.

In the video above, the camera is on its head, and the virtual space changes. The multiplicity of the reflections become more pronounced, and the alternation of the up & down orientation makes it tricky to follow the image as it replicates into the tunnel. I think it is the effect of the reversal of even the direction of the movement.

In the second part of the video, we experimented with turning the camera, and it produced a fanciful symmetry- but it just looked ordinary and predictable, since it echoed familiar forms. The shape of the symmetrical convolution became the focus, rather than the repeating reflections.

Near the end of the video, the camera zooms in, and the “corridor” melts into this amorphous image; and when the fingers enter the frame, the reflections also melt and dissolve. The fingers’ quick movement leaves this recurring flash, and when the camera zooms out, the flash is seen disappearing from frame to frame, into the tunnel.

This flash is what I found particularly interesting in these sets of experiments; it’s as if the movement is caught, and its reflections in the loop allow the viewer to see this ephemeral event captured, then slowly disappear.

II. Two Video Loops: Setup with 2 Imacs

The images that are produced in this setup are really interesting, and the presence of the two screens makes you aware of your own image. The first thing that I noticed with this setup is its openness. You are aware of the screens, but since the images are cross-reflected, the movement of your reflection is reversed; you start to think there is something else in the image more than your reflection.

After viewing the footage a couple of times, I’ve noticed that the video reflections here behave like water. Maybe its the distance of the camera, or the quality of the screens. In the part where Katrin’s face enters and leaves frame, or the part where I put my hand on the screen, the reflections dissolve with the movement of the viewer, the forms ripple and lose their shape.

In this instance it became apparent that the distance of the cameras between the screens affect how the reflections are manifested. In the single video loop experiments, the camera was only around 2-3 feet from the screen. In this 2 Imac setup, the cameras and monitors were around 6-7 feet apart.

Another interesting thing is when we isolated the autofocus effect. I think this is what dissolves the image into ripples. When I studied the footage, I figured out the technical process: as the camera tries to resolve the focus plane on the monitor, the reflection (the feed) goes into the loop, making the image blur again. The process repeats and repeats, making a perpetual loop of blur and focus.

The kicker is when somebody enters the setup; the cameras focus on the body of the viewer, stopping the loop. And when the viewer changes position, the movement is registered, the image ripples.

In the final part of the video above, we asked Preeti Sood from MA Printmaking to see the work, and her reactions were encouraging. There is really something quite captivating being in between two reflections, it’s like being caught in an invisible loop.

III. Projections

When we reviewed the experiments that utilized the 2 imacs in the studio, we realized that what was limiting the interactive experience of the piece was the size of the monitors. It was important for us to actually visualize the reflection of a more or less whole “Body”- by which I mean a reflected image that viewers can identify as their own.

We borrowed projectors and set up in the studio, waiting for the MA seminar room to be free. The effect of the projection is different, as you can see in the video below:

The weird thing though is that it looks better in the video than actually being there. In a darkened space, the interaction with the reflection is very limited; the eye is in a constant state of adjustment, and the saturation that is seen on the video documentation is less visible in the actual space.

It also felt like I was trying to induce a reaction with the shadow on the wall rather than being confronted with a self-reflection. The projected image just looked like pale imitations, and the image patterns that you see on the video was not that clear in the space.

But the thing that caught my eye was the repeating wave of light. In the part where the camera is centered on the projection, an interesting thing happens. The silver box (the electric outlet) near the bottom of the screen cast a ‘video shadow’ on the feed, causing a looping wave of light. In the space, it looked like an anomalous signal, and the frame of the screen disappears. Your eyes, because of the darkness, focus on the rhythmic pulse, and it hypnotizes you.

We still have to review this, and even though the projection setup can be beautiful, what we want for the work is the intimacy and the immediacy of seeing an image of yourself. Technical issues aside, what I learned from this setup is the pivotal role of the space; it does alter the experience of the work fundamentally.

Perpendicular Setup

We waited until the MA Seminar room was free and we were able to do an experiment there.

Overall, this experiment was weak, I think. One, the lighting conditions was really bad, the projections weren’t that apparent (again it looks better in video, rather than the actual setup). Two, the perpendicular setup was confusing, because the effect was like watching two movies at the same time. The reflections at best look like shadow plays, and most importantly, the position of the projections didn’t create a space where the viewer can examine the interplay of self-movement and image.

In the last part of the video, we zoomed in the cameras focus a bit; the image looked like texture on the wall, and with the grid pattern showing (I think it is the projector’s image array), for a while it was intriguing. But the proportion between image on the wall to the size of the viewer was too stretched I think, making the image more like a spectacle rather than a reflection.

Parallel Projection Setup

We were able to setup in the small room at the landing of the basement stairs leading to our studio and it was great for testing out how the projections would look like in total darkness.

The space as you can see is quite small, and this limited the variability of the camera positions. We couldn’t place the cameras as high or as far as possible from the projectors (the ideal would have been above the projections) because the video lines were not that long.

However, the images in this setup were striking. The projections, because of the limited space, felt more intimate, and the relative proximity of the cameras to the projectors made the shadows of the hands merge with the projected images.

But the problem, again, is that the setup would only work if we create a sort of a vacuum, like the small room we used. This will be detrimental to what we want for the installation, which is the quality of openness. For me, I think it would be better for the work if we were able to make a portable installation, something we can bring anywhere, and show in any dark or well-lit space.

Cathode Ray Tube

We had this idea of stripping down old TV’s, using the cathode ray tubes as the monitors and setting them up on plexiglass plinths. It’s probably going to look a bit like this:

https://i2.wp.com/hackedgadgets.com/wp-content/crt_clock.jpg

http://hackedgadgets.com/2006/02/28/cathode-ray-tube-clock/

We’ll study how we can do it and also examine it in the context of the installation we had planned.

 

 

 

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Written by mosheladanga

March 18, 2008 at 11:52 AM

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