Simone Jones and I have collaborated on robotic video projections since 2003. All of our work involves projection that follows a path through an architectural space. Programmed motorized platforms are built to shoot video of particular scenarios. The camera is then replaced with a projector, allowing the video to be projected back into three-dimensional space.
End of Empire.
End of Empire, 2012, is a custom-built robotic dolly and track which projects a 14-minute video inspired by Andy Warhol’s 1964 film Empire. The robot’s camera arm, invented by Jones to enable the frames movement, projects a black-and-white video image of the Empire State building across the gallery walls and ceiling and then reverses back to its original position to eventually disappear from the sky. Warhol’s static shot situates the Empire State Building as an immutable icon within an era of seemingly endless growth and possibility. End of Empire repositions Warhol’s proposition within a contemporary context, by erasing the iconic building from the skyline. The work comments on the possibility of a declining American empire, re- appropriating the historic/iconic building as a symbol of loss rather than promise. Transforming the conventional viewing of a film as static object, the audience is forced to physically change positions in order to experience the film as a performative projection. The exhibition reflects on our shifting notions of permanence in the twenty-first century.
End of Empire. Montreal Biennale
End of Empire. Between Wall and Ceiling
End of Empire. Dolly moving to reveal spire.
End of Empire, 2011
Knock. Composite image of various states.
“Knock has a simple structure, yet its narrative development is slightly absurd and mysteriously left unresolved.
We will never know who is really dead, and who actually “dunnit,” but something else is revealed here. Knock, is a philosophical reflection on images and view points, as it defies the long-established steadiness of the act of viewing.
Watching the sweeping projection of Knock, it slowly becomes evident that the robotized unit encasing the projector also recorded the action and is now repeating for our delight the same camera movement while it projects the images on the walls and floor.
Our ability and the speed with which we read and process the continuous loops is remarkable. In fact, it is strange that we do not find this out of the ordinary. We seem to disregard that our experience in viewing film or video is traditionally a stable one. We typically look at thousands of images and camera movements on a steady screen—in a cinema, on a monitor, a computer screen, or a still photograph—and rarely do we experience the movement of the camera in such a theatrical way. Rarely are we given the opportunity to physically follow the movement of the camera as it witnesses and captures actions—and in this case, a triangular love affair and three murders.
Simone Jones and Lance Winn’s projection reproduces its filming, making the experience of the recorded and live viewing inextricably one and the same. Their moving images have escaped the screen and are freely dancing in the space of the gallery, only pausing for a few seconds on the dead bodies of Luis, Darling, and Allan lying on the floor, as a fleeting memento of a more traditional viewing experience.”
Sylvie Gilbert, Exhibition curator
Walter Phillips Gallery, Plan 'B', January 18 – March 4, 2007
Knock. Detail. Front wall projection
Knock. Moving across the corner.
Knock. Panning down.
Knock. Detail. Floor projection
"Projektor" places a video projector on a robotic platform that is able to move side to side and up and down in any combination within a one hundred and eighty degree parameter in every direction. The motors that move the platform can be programed to follow a path, changing speed and direction as determined by the programmer. The platform sits on top of an eight foot high, plywood, stage prop-like watchtower, from where it is able to project onto the floor, ceiling, and walls of half of an architectural space.
The projected video (with accompanying soundtrack) is of a prisoner attempting to escape in the fenced enclosure of a "prison yard." The circular (rather that rectangular) projected image (always physically panning) reveals a barren landscape inside and outside the prison fence and slowly zeros in on the prisoner who attempts to escape the light while carrying on a dialogue referencing the fact that "culture" or "you"(the camera?) made me what I am..."
The projector becomes the searchlight and the producer of what it is searching for (the attempted escape), following a path that seems like that of a conscious being searching, in the most rational possible way, for a person in the dark. As this happens the projector is also creating a large-scale seamless, though never all-at-once present, three-dimensional visible world, as it flows over horizontal and vertical planes. The seamlessness breaks down most noticeably around the corners where the spherical/conical path of the lens comes into contact with the rectilinear planes of architecture.
Projektor. Tower and projection.
Projektor. Projection image.
Projektor. Pan down.
Projektor. Nui Blanche
Projektor. Nui Blanche
"Truncated" consists of a motorized tri-pod that raises and lowers a platform on which a projector (a device that feeds images out into the world) has replaced a camera (a device that captures and brings the world in). The projector exactly reproduces the path of a camera that has, with machine clarity, moved up and down the human torso, capturing in high detail everything but the features of face or genitals that might identify person or sex. The projector both creates and erases the image as it loops up and down, making explicit the way the lens is forced to cut in order to capture.