"Seen" is an extrapolation on "Watch", using the whole of Piazza San Marco in Venice as the source material. The installation is made up of 4 video projections whose video material are calculated live from a single video source.
(Due to the extraordinary expense of running a live satellite feed from the piazza to the Canadian Pavillion on the Biennale graound, I recorded about 30 minutes of material and burned it to DVD to be the source.) The first and fourth projections are effectively colour versions of "Watch", in which what is moving is separated from that which is still. In this case, what was moving were the people milling about the piazza and the famous San Marco pigeons. What was still was the architecture of the piazza, and the kiosks selling souvenirs and corn with which to feed the pigeons. The middle two projections offer different perspectives on the patterns of flow through the Piazza. The blue projection (2nd) takes the first image (motion) as a source and feeds it back on itself at a delay of 1/2 a second. This turns each individual person into a Muybridge motion study, or a procession of themselves. Areas which experienced the greateest density of traffic in the recent past would be quite densly packed and less travelled areas would be sparser, providing a kind of probability plot of activities in the space. This video stream has a strangely archaic appearance, looking very 17th century for some reason. The third projection traces the recent trajectory of each moving thing in the Piazza in a colour gradient estqablishing the direction of movement of each thing. The processing was performed at full video resolution, meaning that every pedestrian and pigeon on Piazza San Marco left a trace. Flying pigeons drew the arc of their flight, running pedestrians keft trails showing their dodges and turns as they wended their way through the crowds. The walking pigeons produced patterns looking rather like arabic lettering as they chased after the scattered corn.
Copyright 2002 David Rokeby / very nervous systems / All rights reserved. 10/24/02