The artwork in the coding as well as in the surface of sounds, images and language. Like ocean tides and time itself, the code-driven work is always changing. It never repeats the same language, sound and imagery in the same order twice. Familiar sites are transfigured to suggest that rising waters don't only cause material changes, they also impact memories, desires, dreams and language. Arcs in the imagery and compositions suggest the evolution and resolution of threads before the system changes and new trajectories are introduced. Algorithms combine the images to suggest unfolding events before breaking apart; like the tides the future is always in flux.
The combinatory visual algorithms reveal strange correspondences. As with images of memory and the unconscious, some elements are strangely distorted, rising to the surface only to disappear again. When viewers move among the screens, they also appear and disappear to each other, becoming part of the flow and flux. As in life, no two experiences are the same, and meanings, when legible, are fleeting. From the remnants of facts, observations, memories, it asks viewers to find a language that might describe and, perhaps, transform the current predicaments.
The algorithmic system reveals relationships between senses of place, memory, and language through innervation -- a concept expressed powerfully by Walter Benjamin as our nervous-system response to technological, visual stimuli like cinema and which is extended to these emerging forms. In confronting global warming thought innervation, the work sees the media installation experience as a liminal space between humans and the technological apparatus of our time. The systems used in It will happen here offer a approach that confronts the technological expressions of urgency, longing and loss that seem built into contemporary constructs of time. It aims to put structures of the Anthropocene on view to confront the logic and consequences of industrialization, particularly petro-chemical industrialization, while also drawing attention to how these systems may shape our human relationships to the natural world -- particularly to water, waterways and shorelines. The work gives space to witness and name those experiences.
Brief Video Sample:
It Will Happen Here... is a collaborative work
It will happen here draws upon imagery and research gathered by Roderick Coover through over a decade of travels by foot at kayak along shores of the Anthropocene. Viewers travel along the marshlands, wastelands and shores that have been impacted by industrialization and the Anthropocene. The work was begun along the Thames in the UK and the Delaware River estuary in the US, two of the earliest developed regions of the industrial revolution. These images form a base that blends with imagery filmed at each location where the work is installations. Representational images filmed along natural, urban and industrial shores combine with abstracted images in relation to themes such as rising waters, floods, loss, resilience and extinction.
Adam Vidiksis' music unfolds in generative ambient electronic soundscapes, algorithmic vocal chorales, and combinatorial electronic orchestration to create an ever-changing underscore to Coover’s images. The music and sound design accentuate the collision of natural and industrial rhythms and the power of irrational forces, evoking imagined futures through dream-like sequences and by moving between surface and submerged realities and sentience. By compressing and distorting the scales of time that normally confound human imagination and undermine human action, the work opens possibilities for recognition, utterance, connection and action.
Nick Montfort draws from Coover’s logs and scientific research to create a continually evolving, poetic text. Field recordings of natural waterways are combined and transformed by data taken from hydrophone data taken in urban and industrialized waterways, offering possibilities to drive algorithmic changes based on tidal movements and other natural and human-made water activity. Written observations and images filmed at local industrial, post-industrial and natural sites are entered into the system to merge like images of other shores to intermingle histories, conditions and consequences as well as suggesting local differences.
It Will Happen Here is presented as a quadtych projected upon four panels arranged in a sequence or as a single triptych image upon a large wall with the fourth image projected on an opposite wall or panel. Visitors move among images that are drawn from international and local places, with images filmed locally added to the dataset. This work is coded C++ for playback on Apple or PC systems with one computer able able to support at least three HD projectors or better and the other able to support one HD projector or better.
The average experience for the installation is an arc of about 22 minutes, structured through 20 stages of combinatory and generative experience and seven stages of text. The extended live concert experience includes two cycles and a 10 minute overture; as such, the average experience of a live music version is about 60 minutes.
Interweaving sound, language and image, this locative work takes users on virtual journeys that enrich encounters with actual spaces.
The public follows a walking tour to find the locations of the VR experiences using GPS. Drawing upon the visual research project Chemical Map and the artist book Estuary, the text asks users to participate in naming the conditions of a contaminated shoreline and the legacies of the industrial era cultural paradigms.
Roderick Coover is film director/media artist and the creator of experimental and emergent cinematic arts work exhibited in art venues and public spaces such as the Venice Biennale Hyper-Pavilions, The Nobel Peace Prize Forum, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Documenta MadridHe lives in Pennsylvania, USA, and Drôme, France.
Adam Vidiksis is a drummer and composer based in Philadelphia who explores social structures, science, and the intersection of humankind with the machines we build. He performs in SPLICE Ensemble and the Transonic Orchestra and his works are available through HoneyRock Publishing, EMPiRE, New Focus, PARMA, and SEAMUS Records.
Nick Montfort is the author of numerous computer-generated books of poetry including, among others #!, Autopia, The Truelist, and Hard West Turn and of the collaborative projects The Deletionist, Sea and Spar Between, and Renderings. Other books include Twisty Little Passages: An Approach to Interactive Fiction (MIT Press) and The New Media Reader (MIT Press).
It will happen here is a collaborative project in which ideas are created through dialog and exchange. Primary roles are:
Roderick Coover: Research, Conceptual Design, Visual Design and Creation, Cinematography, Photography
Adam Vidiksis: Sound Design and Creation, Computer Programming Design and Creation
Nick Montfort: Computational Poetry Writing And Design
Additional programming by Sam Wells and Jonah Pfluger
Works in the Altering Shores series and related research have been supported with commissions from ISEA International, The Penn Program In Environmental Humanities and The Science History Museum, awards from Temple University.
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