Taken at the National Art Museum of China, Beijing, 2008
"Taken" is a surveillance installation that provides two readings of the activities in the gallery space. A large gallery space has one wall taken up by two very large projections. On one side, gallery visitors are extracted from the ground of the gallery floors and walls, and then looped back onto themselves at 20 second intervals. The result is that every action that has taken place in the gallery since the computer was turned on occurs together on the screen, repeating every 20 seconds. The image stream, provides a kind of seething chaos of activity that can be read both as a statistical plot of gallery activities (where do most people stand to regard the piece? Do they move around?) and as a record of each act of each visitor. The image is densely social, deeply layered and chaotic. The other side is a cooler catalog of the gallery visitors. Individual visitors are tracked within the space. Their heads are zoomed in on, and adjectives are attributed to them (i.e. 'unsuspecting', 'complicit', 'hungry'). These individual head shots are collected as a set of the last 200 visitors and presented as a matrix of 100 or occasionally all 200 shots, moving in slow motion. This side is analytical and highly ordered and rather threatening.
This work was developed immediately after "Seen", and presents ways of viewing and capturing the histories and tendencies of a very different kind of public space (The interior of an art gallery, rather that Piazza San Marco as in "Seen").
Interestingly and rather disturbingly, one had a tendency to lose track of which image of oneself on the left side is actually one's current mirror image. One often found oneself tracking a historical shadow, identifying with it in a way that relates to the false shadows and reflections of "Silicon Remembers Carbon".
Copyright 2002-2010 David Rokeby / very nervous systems / All rights reserved. 11/23/010