évasion (duet) is a 2-channel moving image and audio installation that restages Harry Houdini’s famous straightjacket escape. It is the second iteration of a multi-channel video and responsive environment called évasion that was created in 2014.
Example of how the work is to be displayed
The 2 channels of the HD installation evasion (duet)
The work was shown at Bega Regional Gallery for the exhibition Motion: the body and movement in contemporary art, 17 July –22 August, 2015 and will tour regional galleries in 2016.
Here’s how the work is looking in its current install at UTS Gallery, Sydney. We’re really happy with the results, especially the beautiful octagon/tardis structure we designed that was built by Bart Groen of Objet B’art.
We went the extra mile and also created our own customised praxinoscope to sit directly outside the space in which évasion is installed. This helps to contextualise the work and its relation to pre-cinema practices. But it’s also a really beautiful object in itself and takes the animation aspects of the moving image somewhere else!
évasion opens on Tuesday 28th October at UTS Gallery, Sydney. The show will be exhibited from 28 October– 28 November. It’s been a long process but we’re happy with the finished work. We filmed a professional escape artist, Ben Murphy, performing Houdini’s famous straightjacket escape.
The installation plays back sequences of the escape performance across 8 separate flat screens both breaking-up and restitching it. Arranged in an octagonal configuration, the audience circumnavigates the screens watching the escape unfold with each screen playing back its own angle and tempo of events. The circumnavigation promises to reveal how the escape ‘works’, but the more of the escape unfolds the less of the trick is revealed. Multiplying beyond the ‘narrative’ of escape toward movement expressing itself, not one but several bodies escape.
Évasion’s soundscape is responsive to the viewer in the space. Some sound seems to move ahead of the viewer’s movement around the installation. Like the escape artist, the sound also threatens to escape from the audience. Unknowingly you actively engage with the media environment you perceive. Looking, hearing and moving are not separate modes of sense perception: they become relational. We hope, with works like these, to move toward a practice concerned with an ecology of media-perception.
MICHELE BARKER+ANNA MUNSTER
Escape Artist: Ben Murphy
Hardware Development: Rob Lawther
Director of Photography: Tania Lambert
Costume: Trish Barker
Graphic Design: Mike Avery
We have started work on our new work évasion (New Work Grant, 2012–13, Australia Council for the Arts). We currently have a residency at Artspace, Sydney until the end of this year. And here are the beginnings of our 8-channel interactive installation emerging in the space:
In July this year, we shot the footage for the new installation featuring Ben Murphy as our escape artist. We are reworking this material taking inspiration from early cinematographic devices such as the praxinoscope and zoetrope to help us rethink relations between vision and movement in perception. The installation will playback sequences of the footage, across 8 separate flat screens to both break-up and restitch the performance of his escape. As the audience circumnavigates the installation, Ben’s escape unfolds from conflicting perspectives. Each screen plays back its own angle and tempo of events. The circumnavigation promises to reveal how the escape ‘works’. But the installation is a perceptual illusion; more of the escape unfolds yet less of the trick is revealed.
We are also working on the sound design, which will work with auditory illusions such as the shepard tone, an illusion that functions via pitch circularity, and with audio spatialisation. The soundscape will seem to precede the presence of audience members circulating around the installation. Sensors will detect audience position and trigger audio to travel ahead of the listeners’ position. Like the escape artist, the sound always escapes from the audience. Overall we will evoke a perceptual interplay between direct and fully present sound that promises to unfold yet nevertheless escapes resolution and/or auditory delivery.
Here are some images documenting our .gif work, titled After Méliès, showing during the Born in 1987, show at the new video wall in the Photographers Gallery in London.
Katrina Sluis, the curator, has done a great job in bringing the gallery into the (recent) present by putting together a continuous screening of works especially made by 50 international artists to celebrate 25 years of the .gif ( and hence accessible digital imaging).
Off the back of HokusPokus, we were asked to contribute a ‘gif’ to the new digital wall as part of the opening of the Photographers Gallery, London. 40 artists were asked to create a ‘gif’ file – not an easy thing to work in an outmoded format! Michele reworked a segment from HokusPokus and turned it into a new piece: After Méliès, emphasising the looping and stilted qualities of both early cinema and early digital ‘cinema! Here’s a link to the project
HokusPokus will be opening at Watermans Gallery, London on April 14, 2012 as part of their International Festival of Digital Art. It runs through to May 20, 2012
There will be a symposium held in conjunction with the exhibition at the gallery on April 21 at 3:30pm, followed by the opening. The symposium is free and speakers include ourselves, Sarah Kember and Eleanor Dare. It’s free but you have to register.