“Staro Rīga 2014” and “Wedding-Moabit 2014” to Connect Riga and Berlin
The project focuses on the participant’s movements and the interaction between remote audiences. The project by Paul Sermon and Charlotte Gould pushes the playful, social and public engagement aspects of the work into new cultural and political realms in an attempt to “reclaim the streets and screens” through new technical developments in ludic interaction, camera recognition and HD videoconferencing. During the project, Paul Sermon’s installation will be in Berlin and Charlotte Gould’s installation in Riga.
The backgrounds to the audiences’ actions will directly reference their social setting and range from simple retro dance floors that light up like coloured paving slabs as they step on them to complex animations, trails, destruction, decay, games, and 3D graffiti etc.
“Occupy the Screen” builds on the practice-based research and development of a former installation “Picnic on the Screen” originally developed for the BBC Public Video Screen at the Glastonbury Festival of Performing Arts in 2009. In this new project Paul Sermon and Charlotte Gould have carefully considered the technical and conceptual aspect of the former work, to develop an original site-specific work for “Connecting Cities”.
The installation functions equally as a single site installation between two separate audience groups in front of a single public screen or between two geographically distant audiences at separate screens. Using a familiar telematics technique, the installation takes live oblique camera shots from above the screen of each of these two audience groups, located on a large blue ground sheet and combines them on screen in a single composited image.
Paul Sermon is Professor of Visual Communication at the University of Brighton, UK. He has developed a series of celebrated interactive telematic art installations that have received international acclaim. Paul was previously Professor of Creative Technology at the University of Salford and has worked for over twenty years as an active academic researcher and creative practitioner, primarily in the field of interactive media arts.
Having worked under the visionary cybernetic artist Professor Roy Ascott as an undergraduate Fine Art student at the Newport School of Fine Art in the mid-1980s, Paul Sermon went on to establish himself as a leading pioneer of interactive media art, winning the prestigious Prix Ars Electronica Golden Nica in Linz, Austria, shortly after completing his MFA at the University of Reading in 1991. An accolade that then took Paul to Finland in the early 1990s to develop one of the most ground breaking telepresent video installations of his career, “Telematic Dreaming” in 1992.
Charlotte Gould is Senior Lecturer in Digital Media at the University of Salford, School of Arts & Media and has developed a number of interactive environments for urban big screens that explore user identity and the notion of a floating narrative. Through her research she explores the creative and cultural potential that urban screens have to offer in the digital media age and how these emerging technologies and the digital infrastructure impact on the way that the public interacts within the urban environment.
Ahead of the greatest cultural event this autumn, the “Staro Rīga 2014” festival of light, visitors to the culture chalet “Esplanade 2014” on the 12th and 13th of September will also be invited to participate in the “Connecting Cities Network” virtual game “Urban Alphabets”. Both days from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m., any visitor will be able to supplement the urban alphabet at the Esplanade. The “Urban Alphabets” mobile app offers users the opportunity to look at their city from a different vantage point. The letters of the “Urban Alphabet” will become part of one of the installations at the annual festival of light.