Real Virtuality: Der Wächter

Root Event

3. Werkleitz Biennale 1998 sub fiction
Real Virtuality: Der Wächter

After entering the Youth Club and moving through the club rooms we reach the completely darkened sports hall. Here, Rotraut Pape has set up her multimedia installation „Real Virtuality: The Guardian”. The illuminated area in the centre of the room does not initially give us much inkling of the highly complex, computer controlled technology used in the installation. A video projector produces a so-called magnetic resonance image (a kind of x-ray) of a slowly turning head on the wall. This method of detecting brain tumours enables an image to be produced of deep, internal layers of the body, while on the other hand making any representation of three dimensions impossible. The turning head sometimes seems to be a rotating mask, i. e. a gradual shift from the „convex” to the „concave”. If we now enter the field of light some two metres in size, we discover a second, considerably larger, video projection of similar images. This time, however, we see the image move through cross sections of the head which thus seems to appear as a three dimensional body out of nothing, growing to its full size and then disappearing again. The loop of appearing and disappearing is controlled by the area of light which indicates a kind of field of activity: within the illuminated space all movements made by the beholder are detected by an infrared device and sent to the video projector as a control signal for – „forward” and „back”. Can invading a certain „room to manoeuvre” bring us to literally penetrating views of another’s constitution and allow us to manipulate it, or does the light mark out an attractive forbidden zone in which we ourselves seem to be caught and „x-rayed”? Every individual psychological detail could now be analysed easily.

The atmosphere of this installation is equally both spooky and contemplative. Here computer-scanned half-beings are produced whose physicality is reduced a simulated exercise. This is a neat contrast to the character of the gym as the scene of sweaty physical exercise. Both video projections – the continual and the interactive – are accompanied by an electronically produced sound surface.

Rotraut Pape (D), Real Virtuality: Der Wächter, Jugendclub Werkleitz, Sporthalle, Multimedia-Installation zur Biennale, Zwei interaktive computergesteuerte Videoprojektionen, Ton
Interaktives System: Jacques Bigot, Collaboration: Gérard Couty, Kernspintomographien: Daniel Heyer