marginalia beyond the andes: Interactivos? Lima '09

Still photo from Frame Seductions' video, by Pierre Proske [photo: Federico Andrade]

last April, I attended as collaborator, representing marginalia project, to the Interactivos? Lima '09 Magic and Technology Workshop, held at the Peruvian capital in a partnership between Medialab-Prado, from Madrid, Centro Cultural España en Lima, and Escuelab, a pretty cool space, recently inaugurated downtown Lima, for the creative development of technologies. it was at this center, idealized and coordinated by the association ATA - Alta Tecnología Andina (Andine High Technology), that we were received from the 13th to the 28th of April for the workshop.

Interactivos? is a project developed for some years now by Medialab-Prado as a temporary and itinerant lab for the development of creative projects with a technological base. it had already been held in cities like Madrid, Mexico City and New York and, last month, it came to South America for the first time, with the coordination of Marcos García and Laura Fernández, from Medialab-Prado; the production of Mónica Cachafeiro, also from Medialab; and with teachers Diego Diaz and Clara Boj [Spain]; Julian Oliver [New Zealand] and Kiko Mayorga [Peru].

The strange desertic landscape of peruvian coast.

in the beginning of the year, there was an international open call for projects to be developed during the two weeks of the lab. eight proposals were selected and, next, there was an open call for collaborators interested in working on one or a few of the selected projects. I enrolled myself as a collaborator for the project Frame Seductions, by artist Pierre Proske [Australia] and, departing to Lima, I integrated the collaborator team of the project, in which also figured Federico Andrade [Argentina -
Modular colective], and Billie Pate [USA].

in Frame Seductions, we developed an audiovisual interactive piece in which portions of a panoramic video were shown accordingly with the relative position of the visitor in front of the screen. therefore, the visitors movements in the space modified the section of the image that was seen, allowing to see beyond the framing of the image - at least virtually, because, eventhough there was image beyond the edges of the screen, it wasn't infinte, and had also its framing. curiously, eventhough Pierre didn't know it in advance when he idealized the project, the relation between the spectator and the image is precisely the one seeked - without success, by the character from Les Carabiniers, film by Godard, in his first cinema screening [check out in a previous post marginalia 0.2 - cinematographic appropriations].

Frame Seductions installation in the exhibition [photo: medialab-prado flickr].

from start, my interest in Pierre's project was related to the similarity between its conceptual proposal and our own, at marginalia project, as well for a personal interest i have towards new media works that are closely related and reflect about the "old media". in Frame Seductions case, we worked with framing, one of the most fundamental elements of visual arts and, particularly, of the technical image and the cinema. it's precisely for the act of framing that the artist stablishes the two most important dimensions for cinematographic language: the field and the out-of-field; the visible and the invisible. and, in the case of cinema, the out-of-field, has also a 'unstablizing' role of the filmed scene, being one of the most importante element in the ellipsis of movie grammar and in the creation of suspense - as in the classic Rear Window, by Alfred Hitchcock.

in the conception and execution of Frame Seductions, we tryed to work conceptually those aspects through a tension play among the field and the out-of-field which was opperated in the moment of interaction. in our discussions, we understood that the mobility of the framing doesn't implicate the extinction of those tensions, but rather their increase. it was in this sense that we worked on the images and on the responses of the system to the visitor's participation.

my practical role in the project's development was related to video production and processing, studying different techniques to the creation of panoramic videos, as well as different compression settings that would allow the rapid processing by the system. the programming was done by Pierre, using the
openFrameworks libraries and algorithms for face detection and tracking. on the course of the process, I could also work on the conception and the system for a modularity of the video image, by spliting it into sections that could be swapped while the espectator wasn't looking to that part. this way, the out-of-field image became less stable, creating some interesting surprises in the course of interaction [more info about the project at the workshop's wiki].

Test of a panoramic video technique based on slit scanning.

Test of panoramic video technique with three takes done with a single camera.

at the end of the workshop, I also had the opportunity to briefly collaborate with Masa project, by Andrea Sosa [Argentina] and Rolando Sánchez [Peru], giving some consultancy on compression, resolution and other technical video matters.

as a parallel activity of the workshop, I also participated of Lima's Pecha Kucha Night, together with the other collaborators. Pecha Kucha is a kind of project presentation evening in which each presenter must use 20 slides which are programmed to last exactly 20 seconds each, totalizing a 6min 40sec duration. trying to work directly with the limitations imposed, my presentation was titled "0.05 fps" and I showed some images of my video "Paik for Kids" while talked a little about my motivations to work with audiovisual and new media. the response of everyone there was really good, and my presentation ended up in the
Pecha Kucha Daily site, of the international Pecha Kucha community.

paticipating of the workshop in Lima was an incredible learning, collaboration and research experience. it really created a perfect environment for collective experimenting and I hope to have the opportunity to participate in other editions of the event. it was also great to meet the other participants - people with interests so close to ours, from other parts of the world, in special Latin America. many of the people there heard me saying some times how we - latinamericans [and particularly Brazilians!] know so little of what happens around us and for that we miss great opportunities of working together with our continent neighbors. I hope that the contact stablished with people from Argentina, Chile, Peru, Colombia and Mexico can become partnerships and collective projects in a close future.

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