BridA/Sendi Mango, Jurij Pavlica, Tom Kerševan,
computer animation on digital photograph, 2014
The view from the tallest building in the city, the JPMorgan Chase Tower
On the left is the Bank of America financial center, by architect Philip Johnson. Next comes The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, and down below in the center, beside the arts center, stands the hanging tree. Next to it a signboard reads: “Many stories attached to the 400-year old history of this live oak. Some say that during the days of the Republic of Texas (1836-1845), at least 11 criminals were hanged from its graceful boughs.” Although others dispute such tales, the legend lives on. The center of the city, or downtown Houston, is separated from the suburbs by the wide expanse of the Gulf Freeway or Interstate 45, the main traffic artery between the Gulf of Mexico and the major cities of the state of Texas.
The Trackeds project was created in 2008, the result of a residency organized by the Ratti Foundation, Como (I) and headed by architect Yona Friedman. The project is built on researching dynamic structures in urban spaces and analyzing super-automated systems that collect and process captured data, with a special emphasis on building data-based or visual content with the use of cybernetic applications.
Sophisticated surveillance systems can also be understood as a giant network of contemporary vistas of landscapes and cityscapes. The views are not, however, captured with the purpose of creating beautiful and charming panoramas; their primary aim is to collect data on people and their activities and provide “security.” Interestingly, these systems are so highly automated and autonomous that they are becoming the sole end users and, paradoxically, the sole “admirers” of the captured images.
While preserving the original format of surveillance systems, the Trackeds project does not assume the function of surveillance. It creates an image that is then offered up to be admired. Although the data is captured from the microcosm of specific locations, the project has a global orientation. The focus of interest is not personal data or the static properties of an object, but on a body of reduced dynamic properties from which global patterns can be derived, patterns that could present space and time differently, in the form of an artwork.
Traces recorded by motion tracking software are drawn on top of a projection of a static reference picture of the place the data was captured, creating a dynamic drawing. The automated image is produced by a software application that combines the diverse body of information into a multilayered composition. Functioning as a hybrid form, the visual representation opens up different views of the chosen location, in layers from the substratum of the unconscious, through historical elements to the science-based and empirically measured environment. Each layer of information presents another situation, adding to and at the same time erasing the perceptible image. The abstract algorithm and digital recording both contrast and fuse with the urban structural makeup of the environment. Sound is generated in relation to the position and density of the detected objects and builds a data-based synthesis of space and time. Historical elements intertwining with dynamic fragments of the present allow space and time to manifest non-linearly.
The collected data is saved as a finite set of numbers representing a correlation between space and time. Any given time flow can be observed as multilayered directions, velocities, accelerations and densities, together with their sums and differences that speak about the dynamics of a specific urban space. At the same time, the captured data also reflects the rules in place there, and traces the history that has established the order of the dynamics.
Trackeds Houston was made in collaboration with the Center for Contemporary Art Research ALABAMA SONG, Houston, TX, and with the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia.
BridA/Tom Kerševan, Sendi Mango, Jurij Pavlica.
The collective was founded in 1996 at the Venice Academy of Fine Arts, where its members Jurij Pavlica, Sendi Mango and Tom Kerševan were studying. Their work is based on analyzing the processes and roles within contemporary art, the principle of artistic collaboration and group work, research and projects which include collaborations with other artists, experts and creative minds. They are very active in their town, with numerous connections to research institutes and universities, guest appearances abroad, their own artist in residence program etc.
Web page: www.brida-kud.si