Early on in the project, we came up with the German term "Langzeitbelichtung", or long-term exposure. In this type of exposure, things that happen disparately across time are assembled in a single tableau. For me, it was a metaphor of exposing process, of not targeting a final state that is to be exhibited, but to include all the traces of the processes that can only be understood as ongoing, durational, iterative things into which we "tap" when we frame a project.


Between the beginning of "Imperfect Reconstruction" and the residency phase at esclab, there was an entirely different project, "Chain Reaction", a collaboration with four other artists (Nayarí Castillo, Sara Gonzáles Novi, Tuuli Sundén, Inka Ylikotila) in the public space of the town of Eisenerz. As I had already settled on the idea of using the new generation of the cheap micro-computing platform Raspberry Pi for "Imperfect…", I used this project to experiment a bit with sensors and periphery for the Pi, in particular the little camera module that was built for it. Partially as a response to Tuuli's work with analogue pinhole cameras (that essentially perform "Langzeitbelichtungen"), I constructed a small battery-powered box with the Pi and the digital camera, with a small program taking photos at intervals. These I intended to process with digital algorithms to find a complementary form of long-term exposure.


Instead of aggregating the images over time, I applied a sliding time window median filter that selected or amplified only those pixels that constituted changes in the camera's view. With photos taken over a period of a few hours, this process produced very curious images that reflected the changes happening over time.


When we settled in esc for the residency in July/August, I was interested in understanding how this process could be translated to moving image or video. The transition seemed easy as I had already recorded sequences of images. Nevertheless, my repeated experience with this situation is that still image and moving image are categorically different media, from conceptual and perceptual point of view. Even if you use the same input material, the effect of motion in the presentation is extremeley strong. I admit—I often like still images more than moving images. One has to be very careful when defining the movement process.


One element of the esc space that was very particular, is the combination of sanded stripes attached to its windows, and the constant change of light conditions surrounding it: There is the changing weather, the changing time of the day, the moment the street lights go on and off in the night and in the morning, the headlights of cars illuminating the stripes, and the blinking yellow lights of the cleaning vehicles that pass by at a certain time of the night. I started making the first series of images by using the previously developed exposure process, just placing the Pi camera facing one of esc's windows, looking to the outside, and leaving it run for a lot longer (some eight or nine hours if I remember correctly).


I then began experimenting with ways of duplicating the sliding window filter as a means to walk through time. The photos being taken every five or so seconds, one starts with a time-lapse videos that is quite rapid. I finally applied an additional audio resampling algorithm, using a band-limited sinc filter, to each pixel position, slowing down the time-lapse again, until it reached a point of sufficient calmness. The particular noiseness and somehow inversion of contrast due to the amplification of differences meets another peculiar behaviour—as people walk by Trauttmansdorffgasse, Bürgergasse, and the interiour yard, individual snapshots capture the passersby, while the preceding and successive photo do not show them. The Gibbs effect of the resampling interacts with this situation by letting the people appear as if they were cut of from cardboard, oscillating between darkness and brightness at their appearence and disappearance, giving the impression of these cardboard contours being "raised" or "falling". This combines with a particular illuminated green colour stemming from an unevenness in the camera's RGB gain stages.


As an eight-channel piece, I then repeated the process, placing the camera at different angles in the space, so that in the end the surroundings of the space are refracted in the interior installation.


[hh 01/12/16; 02/05/17]

meta: true
artwork: Site
author: HHR
kind: diary
function: contextual
project: ImperfectReconstruction
place: ESC

group: site
keywords: [long-term exposure, raspberry, time, images, movement, video]

{poz, 200422}

in this video I find very interesting the choice of colours and the transitions between darkness and brightness. Before a person appears as a bright cardboard there's a sort of flickering moment from darkness to brightness that resembles this brief transitions you have when turning on some kinds of artificial lights. The effect in terms of colours also reminded me of the techniques some realist painters from the 20th century used to portray artificial light. Indeed, during the first 30 seconds I didn't recognise it was people passing by but I rather thought abou artificial lights turning on and off in the building outside.

{function: comment, keywords: [light, techniques]}