[ in time time ]

Pat Badani, 2008
© An interactive new media installation - responsive video ; Pat Badani, 2008

Pat Badani

[ in time time ] ,
Co-workers & Funding
Commissioned Installation/Solo New Media exhibition, Tarble Arts Center - eGallery
Eastern Illinois University
Production Assistance by Nogginaut Interactive Experience Design in Physical Space.
  • [in time time]
    853 × 640
  • [ in time time ]
    853 × 640
  • [ in time time ]
    800 × 675
  • [ in time time ]
    800 × 759
[in-time-time] ?
Date made: 2008
Materials: interactive new media installation, responsive screen-based work, video and digital prints.
Other information: Solo exhibition held at the Tarble Arts Center / Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, USA – January 19 to February 24, 2008. Commissioned work: commemorating the center’s 25th anniversary. Color catalogue: introduction by Martin Patrick.

[in time time] creates a “communicational space” in which I explore materials as social practice in addition to notions of representation, codes, conventions and mediations. The installation involves large digital prints and two new media works: a split-screen video titled [8-bits], and a context aware, interactive installation titled [ping-pong-flow]. The pieces are bound together by their related concerns: adult/child interactions, consciousness and reality, time and memory, and the relationship of sender and receiver in a communication channel; yet differentiated in their embodiment and in their speculative vantage points, specifically in the way that images and human experience converge. In [8-bits] viewers are enlisted as perceptual editors as they negotiate attention between alternating images, sound and text. In [ping-pong-flow], participants activate a responsive image, an avatar seemingly conscious of others. A circuitry of communication is created with the avatar and her ghosts, who react uncannily via a number of gestures to the movements of viewers around a simulated pit. The work was commissioned and funded by the Tarble Art Center Foundation (Charleston, Illinois – USA).

«Ping/Pong» is a the silent, screen-based interactive moving image.
The interactive work creates a circuitry of communication between a computer-controlled, animated image, and gallery visitors. Visitors will see a projected portrait: a person seemingly asleep, or “unconscious”. As a result of the visitor’s proximity to the portrait this one will open her eyes transforming the spectator/visitor into the work’s activator. As the visitor continues to move in the space, the portrait will continue to react accordingly. This interactive feature of the project is the result of motion capture and behaviors written in the computer program executing the animation. Visitors will think that the virtual portrait is responding to them in a way that only a flesh-and-blood individual does. This incident establishes a relationship between waking and consciousness, between self-awareness and awareness of the Other, and between sender and receiver in a communication channel that is non-verbal. Most importantly, this is experienced in ‘real time’. What is happening is essentially suspended, fixed, in the present moment with no evidence of the past (memory), perhaps suggesting a future where everything is virtually possible.

In a lecture delivered by Valie Export in 2003 titled “Expanded Cinema / Expanded Reality” she talks about the relationship of the viewer to the screen and points at the dominant character of the cinema screen as “a medium to be manipulated by the director”, a subject she dealt with in her 1968 film “Ping-Pong”. She claims that, in traditional projections, regardless of how much the viewer is pulled in, the relationship is based on shifts between the image of reality (portrayed on the screen) and the experience of reality (sensed by the viewer in the present). “Viewer and screen are partners in a game with rules dictated by the director, a game requiring screen and viewer to come to terms with each other”. Further, Valie Export proposes: “To this extent, the viewer's response is active. But the controlling character of the screen could not be demonstrated more clearly: no matter how involved the viewer becomes with the game and plays with the screen, his status as consumer is hardly affected – or not at all.” She expressed the need to emancipate the screen in order to emancipate the viewer: “the viewer deals with the screen, and yet it does not react.” She stated that without the action of the viewer, without a direct experience of codification, the film remains incomplete.

In gallery or museum exhibitions showing screen-based works today, viewers habitually perform the role of observer described above. However, in my piece, viewers enter the space to find that their gaze is returned by the artwork. The proposed interactive feedback loop establishes a relationship between artwork and viewer that is specific to new electronic media, modifying what W.T.J. Mitchell refers to as the “picture beholder relationship.” The electronic portraits’ responsive feature sets this type of situation apart from viewer experience in more traditional artworks. If in [8-bits] the viewers are enlisted as perceptual editors, in «Ping/Pong» they are enlisted as activators.

«Ping/Pong» explores the process of sending and receiving wordless messages between organic and artificial agents by means of body language, specifically “proxemics” and “eye gaze.” The visitor’s proximity to the animation provokes a series of reactions in the portrait, namely, in the way that the portrait gazes back at the participants. “Proxemics:” body positioning in space, and “eye gaze:” visual connection made as a person gazes into the eyes of another, sets up a dynamics of watching and being watched, a situation in which observer and observed interact with each other spatially.

Spatial relationships and territorial boundaries directly influence our daily encounters. This spatial, non-verbal communication between human bodies habitually handles distance in order to send messages during the course of social interactions. Thus, individuals define their attitudes according to the spatial positions they adopt before others. Changing the distance between two people can convey a desire for intimacy, declare lack of interest or fear, and increase or decrease domination. In addition, individuals also use eye gaze in order to maintain a measure of control over such space. Meeting the other’s glance implies an interlocutor. A spatial relationship between Self and Other is thus co-created. This communicative space between two subjects is thought of as intersubjective, it relies on the self-consciousness of the respective partners, as well as awareness of each other’s presence.

However, «Ping/Pong» is composed of human and non-human (electronic) agents, and visitors establish a communicative relationship with this computer-controlled, seemingly “thinking image,” an image that appears to also have self-awareness (consciousness). As a prolongation of Valie Export’s thoughts on the matter, it would be interesting to further speculate about the altered status of moving visual images when they become responsive to the viewer, as well as the altered status of the viewer who encounters these responsive images.

Some of these speculations could be further nourished by new media theory and philosophy on the relationship between perception, human bodies and machines in the writings of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, McCarthy & Wright, and Burnett, among others; texts by “dialogue philosophers” who have written on the relationship between Self and Other and intersubjectivity, specifically Mead, Buber and Jacques; and writings by Edward Hall on non-verbal communication (body language.)

Some of the questions I am interested in are:
- “Humans are physical beings with evolved brains and evolved minds. Humans are also moral agents with consciousness and will. How should we try to reconcile these very different visions of our humanness?”
- “When objects take characteristics of the human (they work perfomatively and take on agency,) how are the dominant divides between subjects and objects, ideality and materiality, called into question?”
- “What are traditional philosophical views about the relationships between subject and object?”
- “What are some of the new views about this relationship and how did they evolve?”
- “How do new scopic technologies determine the structure of lived experience?”
- “How does interacting with an intelligent computer agent contribute to shaping our experience of the social?”
- “What kinds of communicative relationships do we establish with responsive, electronic non-humans?”
- “How do the visual arts contribute to contemporary philosophical debate about the topic?”

-Bateson, G. “Form, Substance and Difference.” STEPS TO AN ECOLOGY OF MIND. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000: 454-471.
-Borges, Jorge L. “Collected Fictions”, Translated by Andrew Hurley. Penguin Putnam, 1998.
-Burnett, Ron. “How Images Think.” Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2004.
-Cohen, Richard. “Ethics, Exegesis and Philosophy: Interpretation after Levinas.” Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001.
-Elkins, James. “The Object Stares Back: On the Nature of Seeing.” New York: Harcourt Brace, 1997.
-Dennet, Daniel C. “Darwin’s Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life.” New York: Touchstone, 1996.
-Gray, John. “Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals.” London: Granta Books, 2002.
-Export, Valie: http://www.sensesofcinema.com/contents/03/28/expanded_cinema.html
-Igoe, Tom, & O’Sullivan, D. “Physical Computing: Sensing and Controlling the Physical World with Computers.” USA: Thompson Course Technology, 2004.
-Jacques, Francis. “Difference and Subjectivity: Dialogue and Personal Identity.” (trans. Andrew Rothwell). New Haven: Yale University Press, 1991.
-Levin, T., Ursula Frohne & Peter Weibel, eds. “CTRL [SPACE]: Rhetoric of Surveillance from Bentham to Big Brother.” Cambridge, MA: MIT Press 2002.
-Lopez, Alejandro. “Die Lady Die.” English translation and Publication: Aliform Publishing, Minniapolis, 2005.
-McCarthy, J., & P. Wright. “Technology as Experience.” Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2004.
-Mead, Georges Herbert. “Mind, Self, and Society.” Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1934.
-Merleau-Ponty, Maurice, “Phenomenology of Perception.” London: Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd. 1962.
-Mitchell, W. J. T., “What do pictures want? The lives and loves of images.” Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2005.
-Peirce, C.S. “Collected Papers of Charles Sanders Pierce”. 8 vols. ed. by Charles Hartshorne, Paul Weiss & A. W. Burks. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
-Ryan, Paul. “From Video Replay to the Relational Circuit to Threeing.” Leonardo, Journal of the International Society of Art, Science and Technology. 39. 3. (Jun 2006): 199-203.
-Trappl, R., P. Petta, & S. Payr, eds. “Emotions in Humans and Artifacts.” Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2003.
-Segerstrale, Ullica & Peter Molnar. “Nonverbal Communication: Where Nature Meets Culture.” Mahwah, New Jersey: Laurence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers, 1997.
-Wegenstein, Bernadette. “Getting Under the Skin: Body and Media Theory.” Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2006.
-Whitelaw, Mitchell. “Theorizing A-Life, Art, and Culture.” METACREATION: ART AND ARTIFICIAL LIFE. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2004. 180-206.
  • aesthetics
    • immersive
    • interactive
  • genres
    • installations
      • interactive installations
  • subjects
    • Art and Science
      • code
      • humanities
    • Body and Psychology
      • embodiment
      • identity
      • movement
      • performativity
    • Media and Communication
      • communication
Technology & Material
Interactive screen-based installation / Interactive Experience Design in Physical Space
Unity - Game engine
Exhibitions & Events