Computer controlled interactive video, live image capture
and digital satellite data and imagery. Collaboration with Jim Campbell.
Mercurial Refractions creates an image of the Earth
through the layering of digital video images collected real-time
from the Internet. The piece is based on the philosopher Martin
Heideggers The Age of the World Picture. In this essay Heidegger
charges that the world has become completely objectified by technology
that we are no longer able to discern our participation in the world.
We also cannot see our objectified position relative to the world.
The video image is projected to the dimensions of one wall of the
space. The computer retrieves weather information from cities across
the U.S. It filters this information to structure a narrative by
selecting images stored in the computer and sequencing them. In
addition the viewers movements in the space are followed
by video surveillance camera and digitized. The computer renders
viewers movements as patterns of noise that float across
the surface of the image and as a wind-like sound.
The viewer enters the space and sees a round image of
the earth projected to fill one wall of the space. There is a pattern
of noise running across the surface of the image. On the shadow
side of the Earth image there is a view of an empty room with a
chair. As the viewer moves her/his movements can be seen as perturbations
in the noise pattern. The perturbations float across the
face of the globe. Movement is also translated into a wind sound.
of the viewer reveal a figure in shadow moving in the room on screen.
of the Earth.
The software connects to the Internet at half-hour intervals throughout
the day. At these times the computer retrieves satellite images
of the Earth and weather information such as temperature, wind speed,
humidity from the city in the U.S. where it is currently noon. The
satellite image changes throughout the day creating a sense of the
rotation of the Earth. The shadow side of the satellite image is
layered with an image of a room in shadow with a figure that moving
about it. Images with the figure are retrieved from the computers
memory and sequenced according to the weather conditions the software