TRACING: Installation Lay-out

Tracing: Front Screen Projection

Tracing: Back Screen Projection

Videos Linked to Words

Moskva TV


Shopwindow in Skopje

Shopwindow in Skopje

Tracing, 1997

Tracing is a two screen projection installation that uses the two-sides of a wall positioned in the middle of the gallery room to contrast two states of cultural difference in the information age. Texts and ambient sounds are continuously projected on both sides of the wall. One side consists of impersonal collected data of everyday stituations, systems, issues of technology and personal keywords reflecting a cultural perspective about technological culture. The other side of the wall, provides a shift in narrative tone, one that expresses subjectivity with visual descriptions of cultural spaces that reveal difference. The contents of both sides of the wall are affected by the audience's movements and positions within the gallery space registered through a matrix of motion detection sensors. This project came about as a result of my travels in East Europe in the first half of the 1990's. What drew me to East Europe at the time was the unusual historical circumstances of the period - two simultaneous parallel transitions - the end of the Socialist era and the instantaneous proliferation of a techno-cultural society. I was struck by the realization that even though I was in "Europe" there were major cultural differences between the former Socialist countries and the West in terms of cultural identities and perspectives on information access/control.

Front Screen Projection: Techno culture Data Screen

The audience enter the installation into the area where sensors register their location in the gallery space. The audience's positions in the space control the speed, focus, and selection of sounds, texts and topics projected on the front screen. These text descriptions, collected in the mid 1990's, provide a glimpse of how those trained in technoculture see or describe themselves and their day-to-day world. The data were collected at institutions where I taught in San Francisco and Stuttgart. The participants were asked to list brief descriptions of everyday situations, systems, issues of technology in their lives and keywords describing who they are. These continuously flashing descriptions provide a cultural reference point against which to contrast fragments of a letter document projected on the other side of the screen.

Back Screen Projection: East European Sites
A blurred letter is "retraced" with the mouse to extrude focused words and video segments. The letter, written by a non-native speaker, asks why it is not being answered. When the audience clicks on a focused word, the textual screen shifts to the cinematic. Each word triggers a short video that belongs to one of the metaphoric categories of "everyday situations", "systems", "issues of technology", and keywords". The videos describe public and personal places that nonetheless represent a difference in terms of cultural space. The videos were taken in East and Central Europe between 1991-1995, a transition time of major socio-economic, cultural and technological importance. The selection of focused words and videos were determined by the audience's interactions in the front screen area, the data being shared through infra-red communication between the two computers.

Production Credits
George Legrady, Concept, Design, programming
Rosemary Comella, Laserdisc, database & interactive programming
Wolfgang Muench, ZKM, Karlsruhe, Xobject programming
Digital Beta production, ZKM, Karlsruhe
Christoph Pingel, Karlsruhe, translation
Redfinger Sensor Systems, Metalogic, Paris
Curated by Axel Wirths, Kunst und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik
The Canada Council for the Arts

Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (solo, 1998)
Kunst und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn, Germany (solo, 1997/98 )