Sunday, 1 May 2011

Mirror Video Delay Installation

Recently I had the idea to add an installation piece to accompany my planned exhibition work. In short this piece will consist of a tall plinth/box, mounting in one side a two-way mirror, behind which is a video camera, which gives a delayed output of 1 minute or so to a monitor on the other side of the plinth to the mirror. In other words it will allow a viewer to look at, interact, confront, pull faces to etc. their reflection and then have the opportunity to watch it moments after, from the mirror's/camera's point of view.

There are several reasons for this decision. My self-portraits made using a two-way mirror, will appear, and may be thought of, as simple direct studio portraits. This would be a shame considering the effort applied in that setup, and the theory behind the work which is strongly connected to the mirror and the reflection. Including the mirror as part of an installation will then help in elaborating the process and motives of producing this work. An interactive element to a show is almost always a good idea, it gathers the audiences interest and helps them to feel involved, and hence more connected to the works on the wall. In the case of my two-way mirror images I feel that this installation, if accompanied by a suitable and simple explanation, could encourage the audience to participate in a similar self-mocking behaviour to my own. And furthermore, this participation could then greatly assist the audience in understanding my rationale for producing this project.

This diagram shows the design of the installation piece, including an internal layout. The plan has been submitted and approved by the wood workshop technicians at University, and I will proceed with construction next week. Arranging the video delay aspect of the piece has proven a bit more challenging. Such editing effects, are best done through a software program called Isadora, which was designed by performing arts practitioners to use in multi-media and video installation performance pieces. It is an incredibly powerful and complex program, utilising a sort of flow chart design of any 'scene' you wish to create, and with a huge number of 'actors' - each of which produces a different effect. Thankfully a video delay is quite simple and can be seen in situ below. There is also a 'capture control' actor, which in line with setting up power scheduling on the computer, means that the installation will be fully automated, turning itself on in the morning and off at night (hopefully), and therefore saving me the need to unscrew the side panel each day. 

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