Sur la table

The table of the day.

In the Sur la table installation, by Osman Khan, actions that occur on/over a table (placing objects, eating food, hand gestures, etc�) are amplified through projection.


A camera above the table captures events occurring on/over the table. A computer processes the image so that non-white objects seem to stream their color down. This image is then projected back onto the table. Thus, a historic timeline of events over the table is visualized as a continuous flow of images.

The installation works with a single or multiple tables. Multiple tables are networked via UDP, so that the images stream from one table flows on to another and so on. The tables can be placed next to each other or in geographically diverse places.

I saw the work at Ars Electronica and wasn’t that much impressed, I couldn’t really see the point beyond the technological challenge. But reading the artist’s presentation, I though it got interesting: The installation also explored the notion of consumption. Visitors are encouraged to eat and drink, consuming the visually enticing elements (the colored foods) on the table, returning the tables to their blank state and thus ending the installations visually dynamic performance.

In the end, despite their mother’s best teachings, visitors prefer to play with the food, treating the table and food elements as a dynamic Still Life, mixing colors and forms and altogether forgetting about eating.