In collaboration with Fabian Winkler
Honorary Mention, Prix Ars Electronica 2009

In the Line of Sight is a light installation that uses 100 computer-controlled tactical flashlights to project low-resolution video footage of suspicious human motion into the exhibition space. Each flashlight projects a light spot on the wall. All flashlights combined create a 10 x 10 matrix representations of the source footage, featured on a video monitor at the adjacent part of the gallery. In the Line of Sight is an artistic exploration of low-resolution video projections exploring electronic images not as simulations of reality but as objects anchored in the physical space.

Tactical flashlights are often used in situations where it is hard to see clearly, i.e. by law enforcement to aid low light target identification. The flashlight matrix projects images that are difficult to decipher, deliberately vague, making the audience wonder what exactly the person is doing. The projected images reference the elusiveness of visual representation delivered by: tactical images, surveillance images, and viral media. In the context of law enforcement and national intelligence, images taken under difficult circumstances (i.e. at night, from a distance, at low resolution, in passing), are constant subject to analysis, debate, and scrutiny to interpret their actual meaning. Misinterpretations can lead to severe consequences. Deciphering human motion at virtual border fences, or determining suspicious behaviour based on asymmetric helical patterns in human gait signatures are examples of automated surveillance technology that have strongly informed the work.

Connected through a strand of 100 cables, a heavy-duty control box serves as the pedestal for a video monitor, featuring a professional dance performer in an ongoing sequence of human motion studies, randomly culled from a database of short movie clips. The performer deliberately interrogates the relationship between suspicious and asymmetrical movement, while custom computer vision software continuously analyzes the body movements, visually highlighting significant features via red markers.

By walking between the light source and the projected images, the role of the visitor changes from observer to subject � with 100 flashlights pointed at them. Looking at the flashlights directly the visitors perceive the inherent power and dynamics of the exploded video image, continuously moving in waves across the 5 m wide flashlight sculpture.

#light  #surveillance  #projection  #installation  #responsive  #art  → project site

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