multimedia screaMachine performance/installation proposal
As set up and performed at Moving Image Gallery, NYC May 2000

Using a variety of technologies and mechanisms, this performance investigates the complex nature of the universe; breaking it down to simple elements that, when combined, produce unimaginable complexities. It suggests that the universe itself is a simple fluctuation in a void and ultimately nothingness prevails.

The performance lasts 15 minutes (not including set-up time) and needs to take place in a
confined space so it can be filled with ‘smoke’.

The video starts out with a simple white line on a black field. A distortion gradually emerges to become an amorphous shape that fluctuates in and out of existence. Over time more fluctuations appear and interact to produce a constant fluctuation. This fluctuation grows more and more complex, eventually encompassing images of nebula, planetary systems, nature and humans. At its most detailed, images from the personal life and experiences of the artist come to the fore. All images and details soon are engulfed in fractal forms which fluctuate and diminish until we are back to the static white line on the black field.

The audio track, being mixed live by the performer, follows a similar dynamic to the video; i.e. starting with simple wave forms and gradually becoming more complex. It features sampled spoken words (from the movie ‘Svengali’) including the phrases: “There is nothing in your mind”, “There is nothing in your soul” and “There is nothing in your heart”. These phrases are reiterated by the slide projectors which project text in moving beams that traverse the ‘smoke’ filled room like a lighthouse beam in fog.

The technology being used is a mixture of simple low-tech and complex state of the art. The theremin is an example of the earliest electronic sound generators; consisting of simple occilators forming interference patterns to produce waveforms, yet it is being used to control the flow of complex digital soundforms produced with the latest fractal sound design software. Equally the slide projectors, simple light sources casting shadows from miniature images with mechanized prisms splitting the beams, display text generated with hi-tech imaging software.

© Gearóid Dolan, 2004. All rights reserved