DETERMINOMETRY AND pREDICTIVE iMAGERY

 

video it installation  

Our proposed work is an intinerant video/IT instalation. The piece, which is premised on the concept that there exists an inherent determination in natural events, imagines a new order of natural images which we call 'predictive images'. Our goal is to anticipate and predict events, beginning with the limited case of human movements through an urban public space. The images and data gathered by video cameras installed in four converging streets will be analysed and processed – in combination with special effects - to produce a predictive image, describing what will be seen some seconds afterwards at the street corner. A fifth camera will capture what actually occurs at this corner, allowing us to verify the precision of our predictions. In a nearby public space we will project the predicted image in real-time, and a series of monitors will make evident the computational process that culminates in the fabricated image.
We regard the city as a living organism and use our installation as a tool of 'clinical' analysis of the reciprocal influence that exists between inhabitants and their surroundings. Filing and comparing the data obtained in subsequent versions of the piece will open unanticipated new avenues for the present project. We use the term determination because it conveys a certain ambiguity. A physical phenomenon is determined if its behaviour can be predicted from a knowledge of its initial state. We call determined something which is fixed or delimited. However, when we say that someone is determined is also means that he/she is decided or resolute, suggesting a paradoxical ability to break free from the path laid out by his or her environment.

 
 

Methods

Using Navier-Stokes equations of Fluid Dynamics, which were created to model movement in gas and liquids, we will set out to predict the flow of people in a city. The complexity of human flux may seem of a greater order than that of inert substances. Nevertheless, the Navier-Stokes equations allow a first approach to the description of those complex patterns of interaction.
In other scientific fields, such as neurobiology, Navier-Stokes equations are used to model patterns of neural activity, showing that a theory that explains the dynamics of inanimate substances can serve as an aid in the understanding of interactions between nerve cells.
A city, built as it is around the interactions of millions of human beings, represents a novel type of organization, capable of giving rise to an unimaginable number of patterns. We seek to test the applicability of theses equations of fluid mechanics, built to understand the simpler cases of inanimate matter or an isolated organism, to the inestimably more complex problem of detecting, measuring, and predicting human activity within a city. Several methods had been used in the public surveillance area to detect, measure, and predict human behaviour. The results are normally represented in form of moving dots or vectors. Adding special effects techniques we plan to go further and to produce pseudo realistic image of the moment to come. A new type of image for the field of semiotics to categorize

Interpretations

In our view an art work's richness resides in its ability to propose mutiple possible interpretations. However, we can imagine some interpretations which might plausibly occur to our audience. This work could be read as a critical comment on the automatic alert systems that form part of many current programs of urban surveillance (e.g. Automated pedestrian monitoring systems), which are based on the ability to calculate standard patterns of behaviour in a public space. One might also envisage the installation as a criticism of the belief, ubiquitous in contemporary society, in the inestimable powers of our own will. To treat the city as a living organism, to measure its activity as a neurologist analyses brain activity, emphasises a diminished importance for the human being as an individual, focussing instead on his participation in a greater network or human system. If our project predicts accurately the future states of activity on the city corner, is it the case that each individual movement in the human flux is not freely chosen, but instead determind by the forces that shape the city as a meta-organism? How, then, are we to understand determination in this new context?

Tania Ruiz Gutiérrez - Roberto Toro Olmedo
2003-2008-in progress