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Displacement 1.0 through 2.0

Video demos:
(Get Quicktime plug-in windows or mac)

Displacement 1.2: multi-user (4meg)
with Shashana Chittle, Alan Calpe, Annina Rust, and Melanie Badalato

Displacement 1.2: straight demo (3meg)
with Shashana Chittle

earlly versions: Displacement 1.0

most recent: Displacement 2.0


As technology gains access to previously unarticulated territory - the passages between poses, the body's rhythms, the time and space between and around events - it is worth considering what is at stake. Will our need to navigate this evermore minutely mapped world lead to increased expressivity, increased constraint, both, or something in between? Every "advance" in the ability to capture information increases the turf over which battles between enclosure and expression will be fought. Whose rhythms will guide our bodies' understandings of these increasingly data-mined spaces?

Displacement 1.2 creates a subtly shifting displacement of visitors’ footsteps in time and space. As a visitor walks along this path, her footsteps are amplified and played back with increasing temporal delay. In counterpoint to these steady temporal shifts, her sound shifts back and forth in space through speakers running along the path – at times her footsteps play through speakers ahead of her, at times through speakers behind. The mis-alignment of the body’s natural “sound envelope’ evokes playful, meditative and at times wary responses - some visitors felt stalked by their own technologically displaced footsteps. Time constraints allowed me only to capture the more playful reactions in my video documentation (links top of page); the video also doesn't convey the spatialization of the sound. But the links above give some idea of what the piece does.

The simple, looping path of displacement 1.2 might be understood as comfortingly similar to other paths we walk out in the world. The symmetrical square is like a village square, a meditative stroll around the block, a mall walk whose rules and manipulations we ease into. These bound walks can be relaxing. But they can also be stifling - scripted spaces one cannot escape. I see this path as a physical paralled to closed logical systems that we relax into or feel hamstrung by, reassured or tortured by. Closed systems keep disorder and creativity at bay; but they can also allow them to bloom as essential counter-rhythms.

This path, like paths and logic outside in the world, frequently became an occasion for social encounter, for dialogue. Breaking away from, or playing within the script, walkers created their own exchanges with the tools at hand.

I have created the modular interactive floor-tile-speaker system of “displacement” so that I might pursue a variety of sound and choreographic experiences working with the simple act of walking. Each iteration is site-specific, allowing for ongoing experiments with soundplay and choreography. Future iterations will have visitors' footsteps trigger non-walking sounds – concrete sound that might suggest connections/impact on distant events.

While I continue work on these paths, I'm also generating a series of videos that study what might happen if I set up the built paths to play back not the walkers' footsteps but others' footsteps - at times perfectly aligned with the the walkers' footsteps, and at times wandering off in different rhythms.

 

 
photo © 2006 Deanna Erdmann.
 
photo © 2006 Deanna Erdmann.
  photo © 2006 Deanna Erdmann.  
photo © 2006 Deanna Erdmann.