Surveillance Suite

There are countless anonymous networked cameras that broadcast publicly over the Internet. In the Telematic Timelapse project, I harvest selected ambient video streams and transform them into time-lapse musical video compositions. The minutiae of these tiny vignettes become rhythmic micro-narratives, dramatizing temporary and fleeting moments that are ordinarily invisible in our experience of everyday life. The resulting rhythms of change, textures of image, patterns of human movement, and qualities of light are mirrored by musical motifs that form an expressive, subtle portrait of the original spaces, of which the exact actual location remains unknown.

In addition to manifesting the specific, quotidian character of these spaces, both pastoral and urban, the works incorporate an implicit theme of surveillance. However, rather than being presented in a typically dystopian light, the depictions of the subjects are dreamlike, comical, sentimental, or maddeningly languorous. Further, the methodology of the pieces speaks to the ubiquitous culture of networked communication that characterizes so much of our present zeitgeist. They seek to restore a sense of wonder at the unbounded, global flow of information that is itself part of the daily experience of contemporary life.

Installation:
This piece was presented as an interactive installation which took place as part of the Association for Computing Machines’ Creativity and Cognition 09 conference at the UC Berkeley Art Museum. The video/music compositions were presented as a very large-scale projection onto the exterior of the museum. Opposite the projections I set up a video matrix with live surveillance feeds, incorporating feeds from the internet as well as live cameras surveying the exhibition areas. An “observation log” was provided, inviting viewers to participate in the surveillance and note any ‘suspicious behaviors’ they observed.

 

Versions of the Surveillance Suite have been screened at numerous festivals and exhibitions, including:

ARES Film & Media Festival. Municipal Art Gallery. Syracuse, Italy 2013
Cologne International Videoart Festival. Center of Contemporary Art – Tbilisi, Georgia 2013
Pantalla Global. San Telmo Museoa. San Sebastian, Spain 2012
Pantalla Global. Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona. Barcelona, Spain 2012
Video Art Festival Miden. Kalamata, Greece 2010
AllArtNow International New Media Art Festival. Damascus, Syria 2010
Currents2010. El Museo Cultural, Santa Fe, NM 2010
Mis?…Mis!…Fake Web Festival. Online 2010
Lumen Eclipse LE:60 Film Festival. AXIOM Gallery for New and Experimental Media, Jamaica Plain, MA 2009
Found Footage! VideoChannel. Cologne, Germany 2009
MGFEST 09. Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago, IL 2009
Tech Art III. Boston Cyber Arts Festival, South Shore Art Center, Cohasset, MA 2007


Technical Information:
I created a Unix shell script to automatically harvest images from the internet at periodic intervals. I rendered the collected images into time-lapse videos in Quicktime, then edited together the sequences in iterations between Final Cut Pro, Ableton Live, and custom software written in Max/Jitter. I composed the soundtrack, then performed it on a variety of acoustic, digital, and analog instruments, recorded, and mixed. All aspects of this process were performed by the artist alone.

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