viewpoint interpretation


Installation (strobe light, motor, table, electronics)

Viewpoint Interpretation examines the relationship between the observer (subject) and the observed (object). It uses the idea of a regular sampling of reality – as in a movie, where the impression of a seamless movement is created by a projection of discrete images. This optical illusion is applied onto a real object and its real movement.

Viewpoint Interpretation extends the line of thought from Viewpoint series. At the same time it inverts some of relationships expressed in Viewpoint series. The installation consists of a real life object – a table – which is suspended from the ceiling and rotates at high speed in a dark room. The table is illuminated by strobe light flashes only. The flashes make the table visible, but their synchronization with the table’s rotation removes any visible hint about the table's movement.

The common element between Viewpoint series and Viewpoint Interpretation is a flashing image – a sequence of dark and bright moments. In both cases the 'flash' carries a unit of information – an image which is an isolated value, a sample of a continuous reality flow.

The difference is in the way how the sampling proceeds. In Viewpoint series, the sampling process provides a representation of reality as complete as possible (in terms of space). An 'objective' observer, who is actively sampling reality, mediates an 'objective' view of the object (building) in his focus. In Viewpoint Interpretation the sampling process negates its informational value. The flash – the moment sampling – is triggered by the object itself. There is no observer mediating an 'objective view' of reality. Instead, reality presents itself. What we see is 'real', not mediated. Yet what we see is not the whole truth. We can sense there is something more out there. But very careful observation is needed to get closer to understanding. We can never see the complete picture.

Both works (Viewpoint series and Viewpoint Interpretation) contain movement. Yet it is the synchronization of sampling frequency and movement which creates the difference. In Viewpoint series, the real movement of the camera is transformed into a virtual movement of the object which is conveyed by the flashing image. In Viewpoint Interpretation the real movement of an object is erased by the very same technology of sequential sampling. The visitor can move around the object freely, yet the movement of the object itself will remain hidden in the dark moments in between flashes of light.

In semiotic terms, the difference is in the relationship between the signifier and signified. In Viewpoint series there is an iconic relationship: The animated image refers to the object by resemblance, the imaginary movement of the represented object on the screen refers to the movement of the observer. In Viewpoint Interpretation, the signifier and signified collapse into one, they cannot be separated: The table is a table. And it is the object (the table) itself who causes the skewing of the spectator's perception. The movement of the table and the movement of the observer exist simultaneously.