PLACE – a user’s manual
This installation has a 9-metre diameter cylindrical projection screen with a round, motorized platform in its centre from which three video projectors transmit images onto a 120-degree portion of the screen. Continuous rotation of this viewing window around the screen reveals the full 360-degree computer-generated scene. While the work is controlled and generally viewed from within the circumference of the screen, passers by can also view the projected image on its outside surface.
The user interface in this work is a modified video camera. By rotating this camera and using its Zoom and Play buttons, the viewer controls his forwards, backwards and rotational movements through the virtual scene, as well as the rotation of the platform and of the projected image around the circular screen. The projected scenery displays a computer environment with eleven cylinders showing panoramic landscape photographs shot in various locations, including Australia, Japan, La Palma, Bali, France and Germany.
Each of these virtual cylinders has the same height and diameter as the actual projection screen, so that when the viewer is located at the centre of a panoramic image it fills the screen and exactly reconstitutes the original 360-degree camera view. In this way the artwork locates its panoramic imagery in an architectonic framework that correlates the design of the virtual landscape with that of the installation itself, thereby making the virtual and actual spaces co-active on many levels of signification.
These panoramic cylinders are positioned on ground marked with a diagram of the Hebraic 'Tree of Life'. The placement of each panorama connects the visual identity of its scenery with the connotation of its symbolic location in this diagram. The viewfinder on the camera interface shows an aerial view of the diagram, which is centred dynamically on the viewer's actual position in the landscape.
A microphone on top of the camera interface picks up any sound that the viewer makes, and this controls the release of scrolling three-dimensional texts within the projected scene. Quoted from various sources, these texts offer a discourse around issues of place and language. Whilst the letters originate in the centre of the screen, a viewer’s movements compositionally determine their physical arrangement in the virtual space. Forming narrative and spatial traces of each viewer's presence in this work, their generated letters become increasingly transparent after some minutes, until they disappear.