Having spent much time already wondering whether something exists if it isn’t documented, I must admit I didn’ t take the chance of my work not existing and so I had it filmed. Here is the video of The Huge Entity installation being used by amused passers-by. What video can do is communicate effectively (more effectively than my writing anyway) how a piece actually works. Thanks to Neringa for making the film.
“If a tree falls in the woods, and no-one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”. Yes, of course it does, now don’t be so silly. However, if an artwork takes place in Liverpool, and no-one is around to film it, did it ever happen. The answer in this case is clearly not. If events in our time are not flicker’d twitter’d and facebook’d (or “f’ook’d” as I like to call it) then they fundamentally do not exist. Not in our world anyway (see my previous post on the role of the videographer in art events today).
Thank goodness people have camera-phones, to prove the work took place. I also took the steps to have someone document it on video (to follow) just incase everyone who encountered it only experienced it. Actually, I’m really grateful my mate Tim took these snaps, as I was holed up in the CCTV centre of Clayton Square doing my knob twiddling, so these are the only pictures I’ve seen of it!For those who like there art vicariously, eat my heart out:
At 1pm on Friday 24th April, ‘The Huge Entity’ will be happening. It takes place on a real Huge Entity, that is the BBC Big Screen in Clayton Square, Liverpool.
The piece has developed from ideas that came to me 5 years or so back, when I was trying to think about how a work or any creative intervention in a public space changes the energy of that space and the people. The title ‘The Huge Entity’ came from a science / philosophy website set up by Daniel Rourke, which had loads of interesting writings on science and theology, exploring ideas that I always wanted to visualize – ideas of space and time being somewhat malleable, people being connected, the idea of a body as energy. The title also refers to the screen itself – a piece of architectural techology in Liverpool that I’ve always had a strange relationship to.
I initially developed an animation of people leaving coloured footprints through the square, and other people radiating energy, but back then I was unable to develop anything interactive or realtime. Then I discovered Isadora – a realtime programmable video software that was easy to grasp, and very quickly I was able to start making prototypes based on simple video delays. The piece has developed a little in its final form, but not greatly. People look more abstract, more like auras, but it is largely just a series of video delays that are designed to create a thickness in time so that people have to navigate through the trails of others, and so think about their own passage through the square. Hopefully some people will play with this.
On the surface it looks like David Rokeby’s ‘Seen‘ and no doubt he has probably done this in some form or other and coded the software himself. Though for me the important part of this ideas always came from the site itself, Clayton Sqaure, and what I wanted the public / user to experience. It was never designed for a gallery, and it only exists if someone engages with it. Further to this, I think it is important for an artist to tread their own path, even if it is seemingly in the footsteps of others at times, but in doing so to find their own way, their own experience of that journey.
++++++++++++++The Huge Entity is an interactive installation by Sam Meech, created specially for the Big Screen as part of MOVES 09. It uses the movement of the public to create vapor-trails of colour that reflect and distort their journey through the space.
On one level, The Huge Entity is a giant living wax crayon etching of what we perceive as ‘reality’, in which the people passing through the space are revealing the colour beneath. On another level, it highlights the way we navigate around one another and explores the idea that we are not just a being in time, but a being through time.
The piece will be launched with a performance intervention by dancer Mary Prestidge and friends, using the installation and the movement of the public to create a new work that looks at elements of flocking, exploring the ways that individuals influence each other within a group.
Produced by Luden AudioVisual, The Huge Entity features reactive soundscapes by composer and soundartist Amos (www.myspace.com/amosnoisefoundation).