The View from Here

(click picture for link to larger photo. 64K)

audio-visual narrative sculpture in five autonomous parts.

The conceptual concern here is with the different interpretations that ineluctably grow out of multiple persons’ points of view on the same situation, and the resulting need for empathy. Storytelling with technological media, which lends itself well to non-linear development, is a natural choice of medium.

Description of Visibles
Five cloth and wood sculptures hang from the ceiling or are on stands, depending on the gallery situation. One side of the sculptures depicts the faces of people of different genders and ages. The opposite surface of the cylinder has the same face on it, in negative, with a curtain-like opening in the middle of the face.

Description of Narrative Process
Curious viewers will want to see what is behind the curtain. As they move into the inside of the cylinder with their heads, their presence is detected by a short-range ultrasonic detector, so that the microcontroller activates a series of events within the sculpture. Therein, small lights gradually illuminate digitally altered images from a street scene at the same time that a voice is heard from speakers placed near the ears. Each sculpture presents about two minutes of spoken English or German thoughts.

Each of the sculptures’ internal pictures represents an interpretation of the same street scene, including the same people, from different angles, while the voices gradually reveal decidedly differing views on that which is seen, thereby revealing the characters of the speakers. Some surprises are in store, as the interior monologue sometimes contradicts – in a plausible way – the exterior “hull” of the person seen on the outside of the sculpture.

Practical Considerations & Technical Requirements
The pieces are self-contained, and run on batteries. (I may change these to rechargeables, though battery life has been excellent, owing to low power consumption.) The pieces are compact and easy to ship and set up. Technical requirements are limited to an electrical outlet for recharging the batteries at night, and a moderately quiet indoor space for display. No equipment needs to be rented.