Sidereal Projections

From Rhizome Artbase

Sidereal Projections 2007
Sidereal--pertaining to the stars.
A multi-element installation
Wood, mechanics, computer software, wireless camera, video projection, 6 channel audio, LEDs, fabric, printer.
Upon entering the gallery space viewers are presented with a curved fabric projection screen at one end of the gallery and a 16-20 foot hanging garden of LED lights and planets at the other. Directly underneath the LEDs is a 2 foot long motorized wooden rover outfitted with a wireless camera pointing upwards to the LEDs. Viewers can walk up to the LED array and watch the rover move under the lights or they can sit under the arced screen in a soft pillowed environment and watch the live images from the rover's wireless camera. Under the screen viewers are surrounded by 6 channels of audio--four speakers play audio files from the Cassini space probe entering the atmosphere of Titan and two speakers play a live transcription of the rover's video signal. Viewers are able to drive the rover forward and reverse using a joystick available under the screen. As the rover is driven under the LEDs a networked printer in an adjacent space continuously prints stills from the video signal.
In this installation common objects are networked together to create an imaginary universe of stars and planets. Through this technological mediation of ordinary objects subtle distinctions are invoked between the perceived and the known. The space of the gallery is transformed into an immersive installation where reframed video and sound occupy the space of the arced screen while opposite to the screen the rover systematically navigates the array of planets and LEDs hanging from the ceiling. The experience is further mediated as the printed stills documenting isolated moments from the rover's journey pile up in another space. The illusion of traveling though outer space is created through this placement of objects and signals, which in turn creates the conditions in which the viewer's spatial orientation can be disrupted.
In Sidereal Projections I explore the experiential condition in which two cognitive spaces are occupied at once: the physical space of one's environment in which they are located, and the intangible space that one inhabits when they are using their imagination. Within these two states one is never removed from the other, there is a constant tension between the two. To simulate this phenomena the installation is constructed so that the viewers are constantly shifting between the physical and imagined. As they are visually and aurally immersed under the arc the physical location becomes secondary, but once they start to use the joystick and navigate the rover through the gallery the illusion falls away and location becomes primary.

Erika Lincoln
12 June 2007
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Erika Lincoln