“Resurfacing” 2006

Ben Bogart & Donna Marie Vakalis

Resurfacing: Byward Market Website
Resurfacing Website

“Resurfacing” captures and archives snapshots or moments in the urban cityscape. These moments are evaluated both by the dynamics within the frame and by the behaviour of the audience. The public both explores and evaluates these moments through a tactile interface.

The process of the work and its creation is conceptualized as the interface between interactive media and architecture. The work explores not only space but delves into the complex relationship between space and time.

Walking up to the gallery, we catch a sudden glimpse of ourselves on a large rear-projection screen that is nestled into a gallery window and visible from the street. In addition to ourselves, we see that the image is multilayered with other street traffic, cyclists, cars and pedestrians. Composed of both static and moving elements, the image becomes a combination of multiple moments in time. Below the screen, we can see a small moving video camera.

Entering the gallery, we notice that the image projected in the window is matched by an additional rear-projection screen measuring 4-feet by 3-feet. The screen hangs from the ceiling, forming a floating wall. The projection regularly shifts between images of past and present moments of the urban outdoors as captured from the gallery window. It is not clear what is live and what is recorded.

When we move closer to the screen, the layering of images stops for a moment, leaving us with only a live image from the street. We realize that the live image is actually the camera feed because the movements of the image match the movements of the camera. The camera’s gaze meanders from one position to another, resting for a few seconds on each moment.

A woman approaches the screen and touches its surface. The image on the screen suddenly changes – a small opening forms within the live image where the screen is being touched. Removing her finger causes the live image to close over the virtual tear. I take a step forward and run my hand along the screen. A larger tear opens. An alternate version from the perspective of the live camera, frozen in time, appears through the tear. The still image is taken from the same point-of-view as the live image. It contains different light, different people and different traffic. When my hand is removed from the surface of the screen, the tear closes and we return to only the live image.

She and I touch the screen with both hands and create a huge tear in the image. This tear not only cuts through the live image but also through the image beyond it, exposing a third layer of another moment in time. As we touch the screen we pass through the present and into various pasts. Time becomes a membrane that can be physically intersected by touch. As we interact with the screen, we manipulate and examine multiple pasts, contrasting them with each other and the present.

Final Version (Installed at the Design Exchange and Inter/Access)
Ottawa Prototype (Installed at the Mercury Lounge and Artengine)