PLACE – Urbanity

2002 Melbourne, Australia

Software: Adolf Matthias
Hardware: Huib Nelissen

    Melbourne is a notably multicultural city because of the size and diversity of its many immigrant communities. Melbourne also has the reputation of being the comedy capital of Australia. PLACE - Urbanity presents fifteen fully panoramic video recordings of various urban locations in Melbourne that each constitute the district of a specific immigrant and/or ethnic community: Chinese, Macedonian, Greek, Italian, Vietnamese, Turkish, Russian, Jewish, Aboriginal, African, Serbian, Indian, Australian, Egyptian and Lebanese.

    The installation allows the viewer to rotate an image within a fully surrounding nine-meter diameter projection screen. A virtual, pscyho-geographic reconstruction of the Melbourne urban landscape presents the fifteen panoramic recordings so they appear within a series of architectonic cylinders, on whose interior walls these videos are viewable.

    When exploring each of the panoramic scenes the visitor will find a comedian, hanging upside down, who will tell a joke when he or she appears. Each comedian is a member of the particular ethnic community represented in their panoramic surroundings, and their jokes critically and humorously reflect their distinctive identities within the Australian social and geographical context.

    PLACE - Urbanity is a constellation of theatrical cinematic events that the viewer can visit and examine in whatever order they choose. It is a modular interactive theatre where two kinds of spaces are conjoined—a documented urban space and the cinematic space of comic performances that are virtually staged there. This evokes the new conditions of interactive narrative and its possible modalities of operation.

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