be[am], by Marie Sester (see also Access one of her previous works that tracks pursues individuals in public places, with a robotic spotlight and acoustic beam system), seeks to point out the political intoxication and “us versus them” mentality that is gaining prevalence as the lines between entertainment and portrayal of military combat quickly vanish..
Three icons – Charlie Chaplin, Wile E. Coyote and Super Mario are inserted into battlefields, domestic environments, mythic worlds, taken from a database of American pop culture, creating morphing backgrounds consisting of explosions, superheroes, killers, journalists, and movie stars.
In a darkened space, a robotic projector throws hovering, undulating images of the iconic characters on the walls, floor, and ceiling. The three icons freed from their “home” environments (and even their original media), are available for insertion.
Three game stations, equipped with gamepads, invite visitors to take control over one of the icons. Only two consoles are active at any one time. Visitors must therefore compete to play. Competition determines which console is active, making it possible to seize control from another guest.
But the machine is a player as well, with its own control. Sporadically the installation takes control of a character. Sometimes characters would also move by themselves through the frame.