Untitled 5 is the fifth interactive installation in the External Measures Series, which Utterback has been developing since 2001. The goal of these works is to create an aesthetic system which responds fluidly and intriguingly to physical movement in the exhibit space. The installations respond to their environment via input from an overhead video camera. Custom video tracking and drawing software outputs a changing wall projection in response to the activities in the space. The existence, positions, and behaviors of various parts of the projected image depend entirely on people’s presence and movement in the exhibit area.
Untitled 5 creates imagery that is painterly, organic, and evocative while still being completely algorithmic. To create this work, Utterback first develops sets of animated marks whose parameters and behaviors are controlled by people’s movements. Then, out of a working ‘palette’ of these animated marks, she composes an overall composition. The composition balances responses whose logic is immediately clear, with responses that feel connected to viewer’s movements, but whose logic remains complex and mysterious.
Integral to the piece are the animated mark’s cumulative interaction with each other over time. As a person moves through the space, a colored line maps his or her trajectory across the projection. When a person leaves the installation, their trajectory line is transformed by an overlay of tiny organic marks. These marks can now be pushed from their location by other people’s movement in the space. Displaced trajectory marks attempt to return to their original location, creating smears and streaks of color as they move. The resulting swaths of color occur at the intersections between current and previous motion in the space, elegantly connecting different moments of time. This is just one of the behavioral elements of the composition.
While the specific rules of the system are never explicitly revealed to participants, the internal structure and composition of the piece can be discovered through a process of kinesthetic exploration. Engaging with this work creates a visceral sense of unfolding or revelation, but also a feeling of immediacy and loss. The experience of this work is the experience of embodied existence itself – a continual flow of unique and fleeting moments. The effect is at once sensual and contemplative.
Contemporary Art Center of Virginia, Virginia Beach, VA. 2009
Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI. 2008
The Nelson Gallery, UC Davis, Davis, CA. 2008
Pratt Manhattan Gallery, New York, NY. 2008
Danish Architecture Center, Copenhagen, Denmark. 2007
El Paso Museum of Art, El Paso, TX. 2007
Art Interactive, Cambridge, MA. 2007
La Regenta Gallery, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain. 2006
Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT. 2006
The San Jose Museum of Art, CA. 2005
Transmediale Media Art Festival, Berlin, Germany. 2005
SIGGRAPH Art Gallery, Los Angeles, CA. 2005
Manwaring Gallery, New London, CT. 2005
Grand Central Art Center, Santa Ana, CA. 2005
Benesse Square, Okayama, Japan. 2005
RX Gallery, San Francisco, CA. 2004
Bank Gallery, Los Angeles, CA. 2004
Marlborough Chelsea Gallery, New York, NY. 2004
transmediale.05 Award. 2005
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- Lauro-Lazin, Linda. Impermanent Markings. Pratt Manhattan Gallery, New York, NY.
- Dorin, Lisa. Animated Gestures. Art Interactive, Cambridge, MA.
- Tanner, Marcia. Brides of Frankenstein. San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA.
- Soerensen, Emil Back. “An Experience With Your Body in Space.” Artificial.dk, May 13, 2005
- Leffingwell, Edward. “Four Americans at Chelsea Marlborough” Art in America, October 2004, pg. 156 — 157
- Rexer, Lyle. “Using Art to Start a Global Conversation” The New York Times, “Arts & Leisure” section, Sunday, February 23, 2003