Abstract


REALITY JAMMING: the uncanny space of CCTV based installation works

Margaret Seymour

CCTV cameras have gained a certain ubiquity in the last decade - while they ceaselessly monitor us, we hardly seem to notice them. Biometrics and new voyeuristic forms of media entertainment are today much more in the public eye. Yet since the beginning of video art in the 1960's there as been sustained interest in ideas of surveillance. Artists like Bruce Nauman, with his Live/Taped Video Corridor (1969-70) used CCTV cameras to transform the gallery into an uncanny space where the usual hierarchy of viewer and viewed is reversed. Today artists like Harun Farocki are still questioning the paradoxical nature of surveillance footage as an objective record of events and as fictions constructed in electronically simulated time/space.

This paper describes two of my own recent installation works using CCTV video projections. In The Mirrored Room (2004) a live video image of the gallery space is projected in stereoscopic 3D. Visitors are invited to don a pair of anaglyph glasses (the type worn in 3D movies) and to explore this playfully disconcerting 3D space. Depending on the viewer's position in relation to the stereo cameras, their image will either step out in front of the screen surface or retreat back into the space of the image.

In Dis/appear (2005) a live video image of the exhibition space is processed in real time to incorporate a temporal delay. Time appears to stretch. Moving objects and people disappear from the projected image. Only things that are stationary are brought sharply into focus. Dis/appear was developed during a creative residency at the Banff Centre, Canada, in 2005. Video documentation shows how a live image of an ordinary corridor at the art centre was altered using real-time processing and how visitors interacted within this transformed environment.



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