ambient video

experimental non linear video installation/performance in a public space


We are creating and inserting a layered video presence out in public spaces where free visual information is often confined to advertising. These dreamscape images are atmospheric additions and alternatives to the aural, visual, architectural mix of public space. These elements combine to enliven and occupy the interstitial cracks in our perceived realities.


In summer 2002 Hope Peterson and I produced several evenings of an experimental non linear video installation/performance program we have for the moment entitled ambient video. The basic idea was to insert a video image on a projection screen into the urban environment. We produced several evenings of projections during the Fringe Festival and one evening in August using the ArtSpace roof top as our site. The main idea was to experiment with new forms of video presentations in public spaces.

Our goals:
- We wanted the experience of noticing the video image to be similar to the experience of strolling through a forest and taking time to notice the detailed features of the environment and if taking the time, look in such a way as to see things that maybe hurried and inattentive people wouldn't see.
- We didn't want to announce or promote it as a showcase or art event.
- We wanted it to happen in a public space where anybody passing by could see it.
- We want it to be low key, in other words, we didn't want it to be in people's faces with content or positioning of the screen.
- We wanted it to be silent with just the sounds of the local environment as its soundtrack.
- We wanted to be somewhat mobile with the ability to set up and strike with a minimum of effort in order to be able to respond to changing conditions of the environment.

Unlike advertising billboards, lit up signs and such that beg for the passersby attention and give up information very fast, our presentation drifts along slowly revealing its imagery over a long period of time and being very subtle in its design. Our images are produced and performed in much the same way that an audio ambient soundscape is. Video clips are layered, collaged, looped and processed in various ways to create a montage with a computer program. The video image is projected as it is being created. We have used images of natural phenomena such as close ups of flower blooms, rippling water, and clouds in the sky combined with other less representational images as starting off points in the creation of the video output. There is no beginning or end and as the time advances we adjust the selection of clips, the processing parameters such as speed of play back of individual clips, scale of image, overlaps, color keying and so on within our software.