It has been reported that since the renovation of the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo's ceiling has become highly environmentally sensitive - the rate of its decay increasing as a direct result of contact with the rising moist warm breath and bacteria of admiring observers.
Whether apocryphal or not, we enjoy the irony contained in the idea that a space might exhibit a behaviour of increased entropy as a direct result of occupation and observation.
When I See Red is an active spatial installation.
It implicates a particular class of observer in a performance of gradual destruction.
Three 'flocks' of fragile cast plaster elements are suspended on steel rod armatures hung from the ceiling. Introduced within this grouping is an assembly of two steel sheets. Steel 'fingers' protrude from the front face of one of these sheets, procariously extending into the territory of the plaster elements. An acoustic driver is attached to the rear face of this same sheet.
The 'flocks' and sheet steel are located in a space with two large openings on opposing walls. Observers have freedom of movement around, and, depending on configuration, between the hanging elements.
Above one of the openings into the space is a shelf with an amplifier, a laptop, and a webcam. The webcam views the hanging elements and the surrounding space, feeding the laptop at 25fps. The laptop runs an Eyesweb patch which assesses the frames for a particular condition and controls the state of an embedded sine wave generator. Detection of the color red within the scene changes the output of the sine wave generator from quiet, slowly modulating non-resonant frequencies in the region of 200Hz, to a low fundamental frequency of 31Hz.
As the sheets resonate, the fingers energetically chip away at the plaster elements, reducing the density of the flocks and leaving an arc of debris on the floor as a witness to the act of observing.
scene analysis using Eyesweb
[click image to view]
[click image to view [ not yet available]]
150th Charlottenborg Foraarsudstillingen [spring exhibition], Copenhagen, Denmark. 2007
[click image to view]
Thanks to Richard Roberts for resonant advice.
Politiken [17/03/07] - spring exhibition review [download pdf]
Berlingske Tidende [29/03/07] - spring exhibition review [download pdf]
Charlottenborg - foraarsudstillingen 2007