Real-time, site-specific media performance-installation
Included in Tomorrow's News, curated by Jen Budney
MUU Gallery, Helsinki, Finland
May 23 - June 1, 2003
Performance duration: 4.5 hours per night for 8 nights
flowchart is both an installation and a live performance that is viewed at night from the street outside the gallery. During the day, during normal gallery hours, the performance space is open, and it is possible to walk around the installation and observe it from the inside. At night, the gallery doors are closed, and the performance occurs during an advertised time period. The work involves a single performer (the artist), two channels of live video projection in the gallery windows and a live soundtrack feed that can be heard outside the gallery by using a mobile phone to call an "audio on demand" telephone number.
The premise of the work is the performer's "processing" of a piece of obsolete, discarded and demolished electronic equipment, through a large-scale "flowchart" delineated on the gallery floor. The performer's actions on the material can be observed in the nighttime video projection. The flowchart conceived as is a kind of stage set or game board: throughout the week, daytime visitors to the gallery can observe changes in the installation as material is processed through it.
The work is motivated by an interest in the question of technological obsolescence, and by a desire to explore the boundaries of the gallery as a presentation space. The flowchart is an attempt to reinterpret the performer's actions as a kind of computer program by radically slowing down the time base and greatly enlarging the physical scale of a typical information processing operation. Instead of quick, invisible pulses of electricity, the "data" in this operation are bulky, inconvenient and insistently physical.
The long duration of the performance corresponds to this magnification of temporal scale, while the spatialization of movements and materials throughout the gallery alludes to an investment in the material world which is nevertheless mediated by the outdoor video presentation. The two channels of video represent a kind of "monitoring" of the operation being performed - one image tracks the performer's repetitive movements through the chart, and the other documents the successive "updating" of several of its stages.
The repetitive quality of the activity being performed is reinforced by the meditative soundtrack, which is designed to sustain and pace the performer's movements. The delivery of the soundtrack through a separate telephone audio channel is intended to permit viewers to appropriate both the work and its urban context on their own terms by using their mobile telephone as a personal audio receiver.
This project was supported by the Canada Council for the Arts.
Images show the audience’s viewpoint of the video projection outside the gallery during the night-time performance, the interior of the gallery installation, and some views of the performance process underway. The audience would have seen only the projected video representations of the performer's activity.