Installation -> Spatial animation


Slow Motion, 2011. Physical animation with light. View of the animation construction in the room,
Gävle Konstcentrum, Sweden. Curated by Anna Livion.

In 2011 I made the exhibition Slow Motion at Gävle Konstcentrum, Sweden. The starting point for this project was to go back to the first optical experiments with moving images that Eadweard Muybridge and others was working on at the end of the 19th century and turn the relationship to space and movement inside out.
Muybridge and others tested ways of showing images rapidly, one after another, in order to create an illusion of movement, and around the same time, apparatuses – predecessors to modern film projectors – were developed. Since then technology has improved but many of the conventions that were established in the late 1800 remain. When we watch films today, we forget about the space around us in the same ways people did when films were in their infancy, and we sit focused on the lit-up screen in front of us (Including TV, computer screens and others).  If Muybridge liberated the sequence of movement from the space so that it became possible to distribute it smoothly, The Slow Motion project does the reverse by binding it to a place, to the here and now in a palpably physical way by animating real objects with light in the physical space. Black boxes instead of frames in a film-sequence are built in the room, each one containing an object that are lit up by a running light in order to generate a spatial animation.
The frame rate becomes quite limited and resembles a flashing neon sign or a tacky gif animation while the resolution on the other hand is optimal which is similar to the technological development today where resolution is getting better and better but must constantly compromise on quality and frame rate in favour of downloading speed on mobile broad band etc.

Since this project is a bit tricky to document with its flashing lights in a dark space and also, since a filmed documentation brings it back to moving image I have chosen to make the documentation as animated gifs based on photographed documentation.

In the exhibition Slow Motion, 32 white foldable chairs were animated in a row to generate an image of a chair moving in the room like a Rollercoaster or an assembly line where the first part of the sequence was animated with the chairs upright, like a ride, and the second part with the chairs folded flat. One small loud-speaker was added to each box/frame connected to the electric lamp-cable that would give a small clicking sound when each box/frame was lit up. The speakers where found and collected from a car junkyard and were sorted by size in groups of four to generate a four stroke. This worked as an ambient dolby surround sound soundtrack and also helped the eye to recognize and follow the movement in the dark space and made it possible to increase the speed of the animation. The exhibition was an experiment that turned out to work quite ok and I wanted to try out further possibilities with these spatial animations.

In 1929 experimental Russian filmmaker Vertov made the movie the man with the movie camera where he explored the technical possibilities with a movie camera resulting in a movie basically consisting of a stack of effects. I wanted to borrow this concept and think of my own exhibition Slow Motion as the first scene in an imaginary film set outside of time and space where I could try out both the technical options and limitations as well as logistics. When animating large objects one sequence could occupy a large area and emerging problems arise like how to transport a viewer through a linear narrative etc?

Slow Motion Scene II, 2014. View of the animation construction in the room,
Stockholm Contemporary, Britton Britton, Sweden. Curated by Andreas Brändström.

In spring 2014 I made the second scene in Slow Motion in an office space at Stockholm Contemporary at company Britton Britton where I duplicated all objects in the room, a chair, table etc. and placed them side by side in a looped sequence in order to generate the impression of a shaking room, like an earthquake. During this test I realized the significance of the after-image on the retina. The after-image fades away quite slowly and by adding darkness between the light-flashes, the animation could be speeded up without blurring.

One new option here when working with only two frames in a loop was the possibility to animate a sequence not only in space but also in time, since the narration goes back and forth.