INDIGESTION

Interactive video installation

Brussels, Belgium

1996

The interactive media installation intersects two electronically linked modes: an interactive video and a virtual environment. The video consists of a dining scene projected onto a horizontal screen/dinner table that a viewer can join as a guest. An archetypal film noire narrative is played out between two characters of ambiguous relation seated at the table; only their hands enter the screen. An adjacent touch screen offers the viewer a choice of characters from a variety of gender and class stereotypes. The viewer can change dining partners mid-conversation and, while the narrative always moves in the same direction, the multiple branching dialogues are nuanced by each combination of characters. In an adjacent space, a participant using a Polhemus motion-sensing device can navigate in real time through the computer-generated, magnified space of the same dinner table. The image is split onto two large screens on opposite sides of the room and seen in 3-D. The mobile and magnified viewpoint across this mega-landscape reveals a micro-drama played out in the details. The technologies of each room work in tandem to produce multi-layered information. ‘Choice’ is offered to lure the subject into an interrogation of the democratic aspirations of interactive technologies and critique reductive binaries such as masculine/ feminine, high class/low class, fact/fiction, and real/ virtual. The script is by Douglas Cooper.

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