Heavens Gate – Interactive

1986 The Hague, Netherlands
Coauthors: Jeffrey Shaw, Harry de Wit (sound)

Software: Larry Abel

The technological and formal organisation of this work is similar to Narrative Landscape (1985). Computer-graphic images project onto a screen above the viewers' heads, and one person uses a joystick to control their movements through that virtual space of imagery. The screen is protected from ambient light by a blue fabric canopy under which the viewers stand.

Most of the imagery in this work , derived from photographic or pictorial sources, has been digitally manipulated and then arranged in navigable layers. The viewer can interactively pan and zoom in to details and from one level to another. An important visual component of this work evokes the traditional Baroque realm of angelic forms. In Heavens Gate such figures were created by making slow-scan video recordings of two naked dancers, filmed from below while hanging from swings. The extended time base of these recordings causes unusual distentions and deformations of the dancers’ bodies, creating a unique new iconography of the human figure suspended equivocally in space.

Exhibition Record

1986/11/22 - 11/29 : Image and Sound Festival, Haags Filmhuis, The Hague, Netherlands

1987/01/18 - 02/15 : Stipendia 85-86, Pakhuis Emma (Y-tech), Amsterdam, Netherlands

1987/01/20 - 01/24 : Personal Computer RAI 87, RAI, Amsterdam, Netherlands