Thursday, October 1, 2009

Random Installation Idea Number 2: "Lecture"

"Lecture" (working title)

The idea of this is simple enough, and I don't really know why I haven't tried to do it yet. This would actually be a series of videos that could be presented as an "installation", or just popped on youtube or some similar outlet.

The concept is to invite "experts" (the required qualifications would have to be decided upon before starting the project, but I am envisioning it being professors, phd's, researchers, authors, etc) to explain a concept of their choosing to me. We will sit across from one another, and there will be a blackboard available between us if they need it to illustrate their point or write down fundamental elements of the idea. The video will not end until I am able to grasp the concept to their satisfaction, or until they are thoroughly frustrated by my ineptitude and decide to quit.

I will only be allowed to ask them questions if I do not feel that I understand what they are describing. I will have to repeat to them the concept at what I think is the point that I understand it. If they feel that I am not grasping it, we will have to establish the point where my own reasoning is failing and start again from there. If they feel satisfied that I have learned what they have been teaching me, we shake hands and the video ends.

I think I would have to standardize the format of my questions. The idea would be to ask simple and logical questions pertaining solely (as far as I am aware) to the subject at hand.

I think the hardest part of this would be finding "experts" to participate. Also I would need to buy a digital camcorder and a tripod, and learn some basics of video documentation.

I really like the idea of doing this project, but it makes me rather nervous because it would leave me in a rather vulnerable position. My intellectual shortcomings would become a matter of public record, and I'm not sure how comfortable I am with that.

We'll see. If I can get over myself I might get up the courage to finally do this project.

Random Installation Idea Number 1: "Ghost Hallway"

Over the years I've had many ideas for installation projects. Of course the biggest problems with installations are a) having a space to exhibit them, b) having a budget for materials, C) having assistants to help execute them, and d) having enough money to survive on while creating the piece. There are ways around this, I have seen many fine installations made up of unexpected and cheap or even free materials. But the kinds of ideas that I have are usually grand scale and elaborate productions.

Most of them I am beginning to admit that I will never be able to do. Many of them in retrospect seem like horrible ideas (I will not be sharing those). However some of the concepts are too good not to share (at least in my opinion). If money and free time become more readily available I may still execute them some day, but for now they exist only as plans. Here is a description of the first of many "Random Installation Ideas".

"The Ghost Hallway" (working title)

This project involves a lot of preparation before the actual piece is created.

Step One: is to send myself and volunteers interested in helping out to locations that are deemed "haunted". (Some locations will not have a "haunted" history to them, but the volunteers will be informed that they do). With night vision cameras they will document their experiences, but be instructed to keep as quiet as possible: no running narrative (as they do so often in "ghost hunter" shows on television). Of course being alone in the dark in places that are believed to be haunted will elicit some reactions of fear which cannot be helped. These will not be edited out.

Step One Amended: Further documentation about each location will be collected, and may or may not be available ancillary to the installation proper.

Step Two: Finding or building the proper location. The proper location would be a long rather narrow hallway with very shiny black tile floors (a tile that preferably echoes noise and makes footsteps audible). The walls and ceiling would have to be made or pre-existing to have bad acoustics, in the sense that sound would bounce and echo off of them. It would also have to have access to quite a bit of electricity, and have an accessible room off of it that could house video equipment.

The walls and ceiling would have to be carefully painted a pure gloss black.

Step Two Amended: If the hallway is being built, some preliminary research will have to be done regarding the optimum dimensions (length, width, and heigth) of the hallway to produce the intended effect (see The Effect below).

Step Three: Install countless television monitors lining the walls. Depending on money and amount of video documentation available they can either be floor to ceiling, or mounted in single horizontal rows going down the hallway. It is important that each monitor have it's own video constantly playing on a loop. Their will be no added sound equipment, the built in speakers on each monitor (they have to have these) will be turned up as loud as possible.

The Effect: As the viewer walks down the hallway they will be surrounded by the indistinct greenish images on the monitors, mirrored and repeated endlessly in the floor and ceiling. They will hear the sound of breathing and footsteps coming from the speakers of each tv reverberating throughout the hallway. Viewers will only be allowed to come in from one direction, and no explanation of what they are looking at will be provided until after they exit. Even the title will not be present at the beginning.

Most viewers will probably feel a little disturbed by the experience, as it is intended to thoroughly disorient them. Due to the popularity of ghost hunter television shows, they will probably have some idea of what they are looking at on the monitors, and the perceived subject matter will also add to the overall 'creepy" effect.

The Intention: The intention is to walk a thin line between installation art, a pseudo-psychological experiment, and the experience of a "haunted house" attraction (minus the usual gore and pop-out surprises). It serves to provide the viewer with a wholly new aesthetic and physical experience, and remove them from their comfort zone.

Possible Additions: In the room upon exit documentation of the project may or may not be available to help the viewer make sense of their experience, and a survey of their experience may or may not be available for them to fill out. Also it might be interesting to place hidden cameras in the hallway to play (on a delay) on a monitor in the next room so that viewers can see the effect that the experience had on them.

If the opportunity to actually create this piece ever presents itself, clearly more thought will have to be put into it. Obviously the whole thing would start with scouting "haunted" locations to do video documentation in.

Overall the project would take a long time and a lot of money to execute. I'm not exactly holding my breath right now.