Reorganizing vision

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Bring me home, please

Yesterday was the presentation of Picture House - Film, Art and Design at Belsay Hall near Newcastle. English Heritage and Dott 07 (Designs of the time 2007) invited film directors, artists and designers to take their inspiration from the 17th century manor house and inhabit it with art installations.

I'll come back to the event with more information and images but for now i just can't resist talking about one of the 3 installations commissioned by Juha Huuskonene.


Aleph, by Adam Somlai-Fischer and Bengt Sjölén, is a kinetic reflection display system made of 200 side mirrors from cars. A small mirror reflects only a fraction of the space around us; a mirror façade reflects most things around us, containing segments that are dark or bright, red or green. But a matrix of small mirrors, which can adjust their tilt according to the site they are facing, will form a display that uses the ever changing flux of the place to show images from certain points in space. That's exactly what Aleph is doing.

The installation, which will spend six months in the gardens of Belsay, is experienced as a large matrix of reflections of the environment. It uses the spaces, people and objects placed or passing in front of it as a palette to display images from hidden viewpoints.

0matrixmirrors.jpg 0cameraboall.jpg

The reflections in the matrix of mirrors are changing and eventually building up images and other visual information.‭ ‬This is perceived fully from one specific viewpoint at a time,‭ ‬while getting fragmented by moving away from it.‭ ‬The installation produces its content in response to the presence,‭ ‬position and behavior of visitors.

Movement is achieved by‭ ‬2‭ ‬small electric motors, each mirror is equipped with a small circuit board with a microcontroller,‭ ‬a motor driver and an angle sensor.‭ A computer is using cameras to continuously analyze the surroundings, implement interaction and distribute targeting information to a network of microcontrollers positioning the mirrors.

The name Aleph was inspired by Jorge Luis Borges: Aleph is a point in space that contains all other points. Anyone who gazes into it can see everything in the universe from every angle simultaneously, without distortion, overlapping or confusion.

All my images.

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That is just stunning! I love the idea. Not sure I 100% get it, but I love the smiley made up of 200 mirrors. Just incredible. And the name is just fantastic, and very well described. As I think purely in images, the description let me "see" it very clearly.


It looks like the wooden mirror of daniel rozin :


1600 moving plastic petals, activated by sunlight


DANIEL ROZIN seems to have done it first and better! using a series of mirrors as a mirror is not that innovative. maybe i'm wrong though and the system is more intuitive then just a mirror... none the less... DANIEL ROZIN.


This seems very similar to a Soda project from 1998.


I find it a bit sad that media art gets always evaluated in according to its "technological innovation", and thus, when someone else uses the same technology as someone before them, it's plagiarism. Imagine the same mentality in, say, video art: "hey, she's using 720 x 576 resolution images in 25 frames a sec, using video projector on a white wall! It's already done, and better, before."

I agree with jussi, but only partway. Video is a medium just like paint, marble, or electronics. Aleph uses circuit boards and cameras and custom software just like danny rozin's (among other's) work. However, what if for instance someone made a video that suspended themselves above a pool by stopping the frame of the dive, but the pool continued to move below? I think most people would raise a flag and compare it to Viola's "Reflecting Pool", no ? So while the medium of "aleph" is the same as most new-media-kinetic-reactive artworks, the result is too close for my comfort with the work that danny has been and continues to produce.

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