Photographic Light Painting no.2 (2008)
Palimpsest: Articulating the Interstitial
“Palimpsest” is an audiovisual work exploring the space between sound and image through collaboration. Two distinct narratives, audio and visual, collide to find alternative paths and perspectives around a virtual light sculpture. The piece reinterprets one of a series of photographic light paintings taken during a drive at night (seen above). The photographs were experiments: improvisations with long exposures, motion and gesture. As images in themselves however, the collaborators found them to be engaging both visually and conceptually.
Visually they bring to mind the poetic: the camera has captured ethereal light trails drawn by the motions of passing traffic in mid-air, giving them an almost sculptural quality. They suggest contours, energies, volumes and spaces that are open to further exploration and interpretation. Conceptually, their contradictory nature seems to suggest ideas of the interstitial - the space or place in-between things - or what Duchamp termed the “infrathin”. The light-forms captured in the image, exist in-between the real and the virtual, brought together in a moment by the camera. They occupy the gaps and breaks between events, and find form in the moment between the shutter opening and closing.
It is in the idea of the interstitial that the collaboration is based. How might these forms be reinterpreted and rewritten for another context? And how might audio be used to structure our visual experience of them? "Palimpsest" responds to these questions, extending and reimagining the source image, in an attempt to articulate the interstitial.
“Palimpsest” could be described as a series of fragmented journeys around a virtual light sculpture, propelled by sonic events. The piece was made by combining a fixed medium audio loop, which lasts 1 min 30 secs (played twice), and a 6 min video loop. The video loop consists of a sequence of journeys around the light sculpture, created using 3D software. The audio loop was constructed from a montage of recorded improvisations performed on a specifically designed software instrument. Relationships between audio and video were then created using an interface programmed in Max/ MSP/ Jitter that enabled real-time non-linear playback of the video according to significant events in the audio. The audio-visual interface was designed to allow for the audio to ‘select’ different paths through the visual material each time it runs.
“Palimpsest” is a recording of the real-time playback of two consecutive audio loops, each generating different visual responses.