LA PLAZA II

 

 

real time rendered video projection  

At first glance, it appears as a realistic representation of an overexposed public square. Meticulous observation will progressively reveal the artificial nature of the represented space with its own features and internal logic. In “La Plaza 2”, the video material is not used to restore the past, but to confer it a fictive new actuality. Due to its high level of abstraction, this piece can be considered as an experiment of visualization of mental imagery.

Technically, La Plaza 2 is the projection of a real time render . A program calculates the interplay of several pre-registered video loops with an automated independent behaviour.  Initially , exterior shots of actual pedestrians were taken with extreme highlight conditions and tele-zoom (therefore flattening) optics. Afterwards, the characters were isolated from the background, together with their original shadow. The motion loops are calculated to preserve a naturalistic gait and to keep their original relative tempo.
The shots are “reanimated” over a theoretically infinite straight path conceived as drawn over a torus. The torus surface is unfolded and mapped in the rectangular screen, the bottom row of cells is assumed to be neighboring the top row, and the left cell column is treated as if it were adjacent to the right side. The pedestrians appear walking forever without reaching the boundary of the model-space, since the space wraps back on itself. The hors-cadre (the space out of the frame) is annihilated. There is such a huge amount of possible configurations between the individual cycles and paths that the exact moment of the plaza will not ever be repeated.

Several interpretations are hinted by this deliberately multilayered piece:

Given that the only clear interaction between characters is the superposition of their shadows, the piece might be interpreted as a pessimistic comment on regular but inconsequential encounters in urban life. This perspective can be confirmed by the divergence of the shadow’s direction which emphasizes the idea of a common ground as a vain illusion. But it can also be denied by the fact that the piece produce a certain dramatic tension where the viewer is expecting something to happen, and by the occasional event of characters walking together for a while and seemingly re-engaging in conversations we cannot hear.

The piece can also be seen as an illustration of the paradox to which the definition of freedom is condemned. Since the system is highly determinist we will naturally deduce that there is no freedom, on the other hand we can consider freedom as the absence of obstacles or the exemption from external control or interference. The characters will appear determined, alternately in the sense of resolute and in the sense of predictable.

The piece may also be seen as a critical view on the dominant image of time as describing a linear path. That in several levels: history conceived as a linear progression towards development and life within the model of the successful modern working man. Partitioned, compartmented lives, automation, obliteration of exceptions, individuals conducted through linear rails and prevented from any possible deviation.
The concept of automatism can also be linked to the piece in the sense highlighted by the Kinetic artists, as the creation of a piece which is somehow autonomous from the author’s will (through emergent unpredictable patterns and properties). Moreover, the piece can be related to experiments in generative and algorithmic music and literature. It may as well be seen as a sarcastic reply to the art market craving for originality, since it engenders mechanically produced “originals”.

Hopefully, many other meanings are to be found by the public.





Recording of the installed Plaza

Tania Ruiz Gutiérrez /2004