Photos: PS5 Projection Experiments
by Beauchamp Art
In preparation for the Degree show I booked all the necessary equipment in order to complete a full installation, as well as experiment with a number of ideas. This documents the various layouts that were tested over four days, along with the footage taken from a camera used to create video feedback that was placed at the converse side of the hanging screen to the projector emitting the pre rendered film projects. This included final variation of the EchoReFlex films, two versions of Twenty-Four Hour Delirium Rhythm (TFHDR) which was to be used for the Degree Show and Feedback, a semi-successful video project that had the potential to be improved through the use of more video feedback.
As this was primarily a test for the Degree Show installation, other matters relating to the installation may be discussed here, where otherwise not covered in the annotations for the works in question.
I was able to test the installation of my degree show work on site, and sort out what materials I will need. The fabric I intend to use (having borrowed a piece for this week’s experiments) I can get for around £2 a metre, I already have enough wire, and I have booked all the equipment I need. So the only small concerns are cutting the black fabric donated by Kelly to use as the curtain on the door, and possibly getting a taller plinth for the show, but even that is not a major concern.
In total I predicted that I would require around 6x2m of fabric, which should only cost £24, however as the fabric was sold on a 1.5m wide reel, I settled on having each layered screen being made of 1.5x2m of the fabric, folded over the wire (fishing line), which I slightly small than I intended, but further modifications could look careless or distracting, and too much upscaling is not possible due to the limited size of the projector throw (though there is a moderately adjustable zoom function, it is not substantial enough to compensate for the difficulties in size/ratio differences).
Not only did this give me the opportunity to see how the work fits into the space for the final exhibition, and to work out the practical considerations (fishing wire wrapped around a nail is the simplest and most efficient was of positioning the work, in accordance with the principal of Occam’s Razor), but I could also hear how the work would sound, and it is clear that I need to alter the audio for the piece, as the small room acts a reverberation chamber, so even with the sound at a very low level, it becomes muffled. Therefore, I should reduce some of the distortion and reverb/echo effects in the video itself, as they will come naturally through the acoustic properties of the space, so do not need synthesising.
Going between the final split-panel and the single panel version of TFHDR was useful to see which format would work best, and I settled on the later split version, as it bisects the corner effectively. Moreover, it also meant I could test some ideas that were not possible for the degree show, particularly the double projector with feedback set up, which worked particularly well with the Feedback film of my mouth having video feedback projected directly into it. And testing the EchoReFlex footage in place worked well, as it returned the work to where it was performed and re projected it with more feedback, filling the room with florescent green. Also, as the soundscape for the film uses many of the same elements as TFHDR, it also helped informed me as to how to alter the audio to make it more comprehensible.
Documentation of the installation of the EchoReFlex film in Project Space 5, testing and rehearsing potential ideas.
As the video featured a pulsating light to dark rhythm, the flashing sequence prodded quite an impressive effect when projected through the material with the feedback looped on the reverse of the fabric; the four frame split between the layered screen of the material but also through the repeating frames of the feedback loop. It also reasserted the green hue that had initially come about as a result of the video feedback reprocessing of the works that followed the Re-Presentation in Auto-Captions video.
This set up also meant that the potential participatory element was reintroduced, as an audience member walking in front of each project would not only obscure the content, but their silhouette would be repeated and incorporated into the live manufacturing of the video. Indeed, this was the primary reason for originally planning to use video feedback, to trigger the unwitting participation in the act of looking, readdressing the perspective of the bystander back onto themselves, making their compliancy in what is being represented a foremost component of the piece.
Furthermore, the resulting effect on the wall behind the projections was quiet aesthetically pleasing, as the rippling, out-of-focus silhouetted moiré produced an interesting text. However, although I wanted some light to go though, and some would inevitable go off the dies of the project due to the angle of the projector throw (the light cannot bend, so it must go outwards in a straight line), I did not want to totally cover the corner itself with the video. Having previously tested with a small off cut of the fabric, I calculated it would take around six layers of voile to absorb the majority of the light before it reaches the wall.
In these I document the display of the Feedback film on the layered sheets. This video work particularly well with this set up for similar reasons to EchoReFlex, as the film had been made using video feedback the repeated use of it progress the piece into the spacial dimension, rather than being a flat image, more in line with the live use of the feedback loop, moving around objects, in this case the layered fabric, in real time.
Furthermore, with the projector acting like an Orwellian tele-screen that both sees and is seen (now in the form of any computer or mobile device with a self-facing camera), should the viewer move before the projector, they will be consumed into the orifice of the image, regurgitated and masticated as the cud; but never fully digested, like bubble-gum for the eyes, spectacle without substance, be sites the floating fabric.
In this set up I was testing the the initial installation of two alternate versions of the Twenty-Four Hour Delirium Rhythm. After remaking the video nearly from scratch for the final variation, (going from 25 to 24 fps), I was still debating whether to use the split-panel or the singular video channel version of the film. However, the vertical bisection of the video worked especially well with the layered set up, and the hi-vis jackets repeating in ghostly trails through the feedback loop did produce an interesting aesthetic, but for this work it was not entirely necessary. Hence I tried the set up just using the one projector with some success. The title sequence seemed to work especially well through the layered fabric, giving them greater depth and form, adding to the overall dynamism of the film.
In these photos I attempted to rearranging the projector and hanging sheet screens to explore a greater range of potential outcomes for the final installation, among with trying out having the speakers brought forward and placed under a basic seating arrangement at either side of the projector. Having the single, long piece of fabric flowing from one wire over and back up to the next prodded an elegant (sine) wave through which the video could pass through, though the shaped caused at the edges of the material (a jaunty ’N’) did not seem very professional, and gave more of an impression of washing being hung out to dry that is desirable; though this downside may have been amplified slightly by the fray of the material (given it was being loaned to me, I used it as best I could without modifying it).
Furthermore, the wider spacing demonstrated the appeal of being able to see in-between the layers of material mediation, to see the gradual deterioration of the image, as this reinforces the presence and the themes within the film, taking them beyond the flat surface to produce a more complex critique; a grammar within the installation that places the importance of the negative spaces within the room as of almost equal importance to those which were occupied by objects, equipment, or ethereal images.
In this series, I documented another arrangement of the installation, suing the same arrangement of the material as the previous, but reintroducing the feedback element, and testing out the different videos.
These images show the set up of the primary projector and screens for these experiment, with the speaks placed behind the plinth, parallel to the walls. Although this seems a fairly logical arrangement, it then meant the speakers would be fully exposed (which would not matter particularly if I positioned the benches on either side), however, by placing the plinth at a 45 degree angle to the wall, the speakers could then be stacked behind the plinth, one facing either way to sill give some semblance to the stereo audio arrangement. I tried using another piece of material to cover the conner section, but this was ineffective and distracting.
Experimenting with the video feedback loop and the final, four-panel version of the EchoReFlex video worked well again in this set up, and considerable better for the more minimal ‘U’ shaped arrangement of the fabric 9although having independently hung screens would work best. One of the side effects of the feedback and the footage combined was level of luminous green that emanated from the fabric. Although this video was not to be used in the installation, I had to take this level of ambient light into consideration, as the walls and other elements of the space would invariable become entangled with the hanging material.
Additionally, for this work the radioactive levels of the glow worked particularly well with the figure dancing in the hi-vis safety jacket, offering a sense of unwitting contagion, absorbing the audience into the work though the combination of facts, including the unifying sound scape which move all bodies in the space together.
Whilst utilising the EchoReFlex film, continued in the spontaneous technological generation that resulted in the work, and began projecting and re-projecting images of my dynamic figure processed and re-processed, culminating in a nondescript green light; describing the loss of the self in the remediation of the machine image; becoming nothing more than an inhuman hue. These images were essentially generated be layering images of myself onto myself repeated, through various processes. Although by this point, most of the details of the video were lost, all that remained was the ambient light of non-specific visual information.
In theses attempts at creating a more intricate multi-screen set up with the two-panel version of the TFHDR video I reframed from using the novelty of the feedback loop, as I would not have access to this facility during the Degree Show, and focused on the matter of finding an arrangement with the layered fabric that would be the best presentation of the work. These were taken with nothing clipping material in place, so it slipped and folded, distorting the image and reverting to resembling a washing line. Nevertheless, this issue was solved in the exhibited set up be pulling the wire as taut as possible, and discreetly securing the cornea of the fabric with small blobs of white tac, that had just enough adhesion to resist the down flow of gravity towards the centre of the suspended wire.
This set documents TFHDR projected directly onto the wall, making use of the split panel video on the corner of the room, frame it within the space. Although I did not intend to display the work thusly, it was useful for establishing and testing the scale of the unit erupted projection onto the wall. Also, should any issues with the fabric emerge and it has to be removed, the video still works well displayed in the space thusly, though does make the audience member acutely aware of the unused space in the centre of the room.
Double Projector, Single Screen
At the time leading up to hiring the room and equipment for these experiments, it was still uncertain whether I would be able to use the specific materials that were originally in mind. But for these experiments I hired out 2 projectors, with one connected to a camera projecting feedback and another playing a video from media player connected to a set of speakers, projecting onto a piece of material suspended in the middle of the room by thread of some kind or another to give the sense of a floating immaterial screen which the audience would engage with by moving around it. In addition to this, I also booked a video camera and tripod, both for documentation and as a means of generating video feedback efficiently.
(The cameras themselves are designed for ease-of-use, so therefore doing the most basic operations was seemingly impossible; turning the grid off the display is mammoth task when there seems little reason of the average user to question why it is there; the medium that seeks transparency is the one that has to be questioned the most. For the desire to the individual to be invisible, to be anonymous, to go unseen and to not be untested in the day to day running of their life, is understandable, but the medium that attempts to frame, record, distribute and alter without alluding to is presence, its deviation from and distortion of reality is a highly suspect one.)
Single Projector, Triple Screen
However, after the materials were allocated, and following a discussion with Fran, who oversees equipment loans, It became apparent that I would not be using two projectors, but rather one. Nevertheless, I as I later resolved to include a TV screen amongst the installation, I was not overtly disappointed with the use of just a single projector to show a film that utilises the format or the suspended screen.
This may have been as the result an influence from Stelarc, who in suspending himself, was counterbalanced by rocks in equivalence of his own weigh in his perforative installations. So following this line of thought I contemplated using rocks as a counter balance of the screen to reaffirm its materiality (if so, using rocks thrown in a riot, or parts of the Berlin wall, or some otherwise ‘loaded’ material, then this would be reinforce the context of the work. Though this may add further unnecessary complications, so I debated whether to use some basic wooden doweling folded into the bottom of a sheet to aid in professionalism by giving the sheets greater stability.
Through these practical experiments I resolved to not place any counterweight the hanging voile fabric, but rather to secure them loosely in place at the top with small amounts of adhesive tack, to prevent it slipping towards the centre of the wire, should the tension of the transparent fishing wire become slackened, and a short measure of wire clipped over the top. This would be to reduce the chances of it falling forwards or backwards of the line, due to the minimal surface area and therefore fairly impractically low levels of resistance along the wire, meaning that only the fold of the fabric, and the equal balance of gravity on either side, would mostly be holding it in place. I believe this gives the sheets as screens as mediums a fragility and translucent weightlessness that effectively embodies the sense of immateriality in the material screen.
Therefore, the overall set up would consist of a single project triple screen; three single sheets folded over accompanied by television and a hanging hi-vis jacket (or two).
For the purposes of these experiments a temporary substitute piece of material was used, which was not evenly cut, and rather than being divided into three separate sheets, the tests involved folding the one sheet between the one to three wires, two of which were the fishing wire used for the Degree Show, but I experimented with using some more heavy-duty metal cable, which had the advantage of greater grip, so reduced change of slippage, and the possibility for greater, more sustained tension, to reduce sagging, but also suffer from being to visually dominant, reducing the ‘floating’ quality of the material, and fastening it to the wall temporarily was grossly impractical.
Though the use of the hanging material to be project onto, I intended to create an interplay between the haptic and the optic the visual and the visceral, emphasising the presence of the interface between materiality and virtuality, real and illusion. Not only could this be seen to b accomplished be contrast in subjects, and the material moiré set against the pixelated optical phenomena, but also in the folding of the material over the transparent line (where the fishing wire was used), exacerbating the idea of the fold signifying hiding, tucking the truth behind the seems of representation.
The fraying material with the image escaping from the its edges could further this sense of a loss of meaning, the fold and the tear both forms of cropping, of reducing the surface for information exchange and the reduced clarity with each layer of material mediation, producing a image censored by its limited scope, much as with having a limited time slot in which to speak. As Chomsky notes,“The beauty of concision […] is that you can only repeat conventional thoughts. […] But you can’t give evidence if you’re stuck with concision.” [Chomsky, 1992] So on and through the soft material, harsh visual information can be presented, but the content of that presentation is inherently limited by the format: the size and shape of the material, the length of the video and its on internal use of montage and selective brevity. The details lost from the fringes may appear irrelevant at first but crucial when considered at length; the peripheral, outlying factor may be the most significant. TFHDR’s structuralist bricolage aesthetic may embody the multi-windowed experience of the contemporary screen could also be seen to visualise Barthes’ notion of the “text is a tissue of quotations” [Barthes, 1967: 142], here the tissue-like surface becomes the medium onto which to project the film.
The voile fabric, like a translucent net curtain allowing a oneway view to the outside whist securing domestic privacy functions as a thin security blanket that imitates the sense of distance created by the screens of the Panopticon living room; staring through the television, the computer, the smart phone as each aspire to immediacy, to erase itself so the individual is no longer aware that they are confronting a medium, bur rather standing in an immediate relationship to the medium’s content [Bolter; Grusin, 2000: 23-24]. Safe to look out, but not look in unless the passerby presses their face against the window, unweaving the fabric by focusing on the hidden materials beyond their reach. The materiality addressed in the use of the hanging screens offset against the immaterial footage of TFHDR (that was intended to foreground the presence of the medium), was furthered in the production of the Hi-Vis Green Screen piece, to serve as an accompaniment to the main video in the final installation, alongside a hanging hi-vis jacket.
For the Degree show installation, I shall be borrowing two of the benches from the NUA gallery, with their permission (following a conversation with Anna Bird), and they are the ideal size to fit in either side of the projector installed on the plinth, in order to fill the space without feeling cluttered, and encouraging people to stay for the full length of the film (two minutes is a comparatively long time to watch a video in most galleries, and so the compressed, advert-break length piece offers the opportunity to be watched repeatedly without inconveniencing the audience). However, they are not most aesthetically pleasing objects, so I may cover them with plain white sheets. Though not the same material as the screens (as this is translucent, and the covers need to be opaque) this means that there will be a subtle connection between the practical peripheries of the benches, whilst still offering somewhere relatively comfortable to sit.
The benches, whether covered or not, also give me a better place to position the speakers at either side of the projector, to define the stereo sound arrangement, rather than having to rely on placing the speakers on top of one another, hidden behind the plinth (as they still need to be accessible, so cannot be overtly covered). However, although having discussed borrowing the benches with Anna, due to the current exhibition at the NUA gallery, it is not certain as to whether I will be able to have access to them for the main submission, or it will only be for when the exhibition is opened to the public.
With the benches included in the installation, individuals can still move freely within the space and between the hanging screen, which are intended to be spaced apart in the Degree Show for people to be able to walk between screens of the hanging fabric sheets. Although for these experiments, the exact position and distance of the screens was done based on approximates, experience through trial to see what would work best in the space for specific works. The experiments with video feedback were intended as both a test to see the possibility of such an execution, and as a temporary display, given I was unable to hire the additional projector and camera for the length of the exhibition.
After final discussions with Anna and my tutor, I concluded to not include the benches as part of the main submission, but they would later be installed after assessment. As they are not vital to the realisation of the work, but rather a means of increasing the physical comfort of the viewer and encourage them to watch the video in full; then this slight change of plan was not a cause of much concern.
Barthes, Roland. (1967) Death of the Author. Aspen. USA
Bolter, Jay David and Grusin, Richard. (2000) Remediation: Understanding New Media. Paperback edition. MIT Press. London. UK.
Chomsky, Noam (1992) Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media. [DVD] Zeitgeist Magazine. Dir. Achbar, Mark; Wintonick, Peter. Australia