Sunday, November 19, 2006

Shift Register

Apologies. Been what, about 2 months? Sundry friends have been on my ass to put something new on the damn page. Truth is, I was ironing out the bugs in a media installation for the 2006 Ogaki Biennale in Japan. This is a festival dedicated to "New Media" which, includes sound installations, video art, and what is now called "media art", which is stuff that uses computers, sensors, etc. Suppose bio stuff could be there, but mostly isn't yet. At any rate, I had to buckle down. Then I went to Ogaki, where I was usually too drunk or too tired to post. Then I got back, but couldn't figure out how to break it all down into little pieces. Well, I got started when I finally started writing the stuff down for a magazine. It's a new magazine, no title yet, but I"ll post here when the maiden issue comes out. Above is documentation footage of my work SHIFT REGISTER, which my curator tells me should be described as a "media installation," and not "computer video installation" as I had been telling everybody.

The work is a tunnel, equipped with sensors, a modified webcam, a computer, and a video projector. You go inside the tunnel, and then your face pops out at you, and then it melts your face. The staff of the festival actually built a tunnel for me, but with characteristic Japanese serendipity, they used the outside walls as projection surfaces for some of the other works. The title "Shift Register" is the name of a digital circuit that computers use to count with. I had the idea of a work that grabbed your image and then melted it, and put it together. I chose the title because it seemed as if the work was something about surveillance. Now I wonder if it couldn't also be about being addressed by a kind of alien intelligence. Someone/something suddenly looking at you. Sometimes the images that I pursue are just as mysterious as other people's works: open/floating metaphors that you try out, this way and that, to see what other things they could attach to...