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"Body Movies, Relational Architecture No. 6 - Installation in Public Space by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer"
2001-08-31 until 2001-09-23
V2_Organisatie, Las Palmas International Centre for Art
Body Movies will be the sixth in the series of installations in public space that Rafael Lozano-Hemmer (CDN/MEX) has designed for cities in Europe and America. These interactive interventions in Madrid, Linz, Graz, Mexico City and Havana have been exploring the intersection between new technologies, urban space, active participation and alien memory.
As part of its 2001 program Grounding, V2_Organisation presents Body Movies, in collaboration with Las Palmas International Centre for Art, Image and Media Technology. From the 31st of August until the 23rd of September the Schouwburgplein square will be transformed by the projection of huge interactive portraits on the facade of the Pathe Cinema building. Thousands of portraits taken on the streets of Rotterdam, Madrid, Mexico and Montreal will be shown, using robotically controlled projectors located around the square. However, the portraits will only appear inside the projected shadows of local passers-by, whose silhouettes will measure between 2 to 22 metres high, depending on how far people are from the powerful light sources placed on the floor of the square.
When the Schouwburgplein is empty the portraits cannot be seen, since the light sources on the floor completely wash them off with strong white light. As soon as people walk on the square, their shadows are projected and the portraits are revealed within them. A camera-based tracking system will monitor the location of the shadows in real time, and when the shadows match all the portraits in a given scene, the control computer will issue an automatic command to change the scene to the next set of portraits. This way the people on the square will be invited to embody different representational narratives. Up to 80 people can take part at any given time, controlling 1,200 square metres of projections and creating a collective experience that nonetheless allows discreet individual participation.
The shadow interface is a direct reference to Samuel van Hoogstratens engraving The Shadow Dance, made in Rotterdam in 1675, which shows the shadows of actors taking on demonic or angelic characteristics depending on their size. Simulation techniques deployed by Dutch masters, like Trompe lOeil, anamorphosis and shadow plays, constitute the starting point for a piece interested in investigating the crisis of urban self-representation. Body Movies will transform the building of a cinema to study the distance between people and re-presentation in public space.