All your old devices miss you is a hybrid projection mapping artwork developed especially for Gertrude Street Projection Festival, Melbourne, 10th-19th July 2015. It uses projection mapping to objects, as well as wall projections and narrative, to create an augmented reality structure. Also as part of this festival, but separate to this work, my video art piece Poetesthesia was shown on the Art Box Truck on the nights of Saturdays the 11th and 18th.
Australia, like many countries, appears to be caught up in a ‘throw-away culture’; we buy things understanding they have a limited life rather than expecting quality, and we are happy to throw things away rather than fixing them. Myself as the artist, and the store I exhibited in for GSPF, share the same passion for sustainability and promoting a ‘fix-it’ culture through our work, and thus I used this as a theme for the narrative of this artwork.
A series of three sided tetrahedrons of there different sizes are attached to the wall and projected onto – already itself a hybrid real-world and projection structure. Around it, the projection continues outwards to include the surrounding wall. Behind the structure we see animated cogs turning, turning, turning, keeping all the world’s devices running. But as time goes on, parts of the projection fall down! They break away from their positions independently, and crash onto the floor and wooden structures below, left in small broken-apart heaps.
Would you fix it, or throw it?
The narrative of this artwork decides that the answer is to fix it. Throughout the work, two projected hammers are mapped to look like they are lying on the ground next to the artwork. Once the work has fallen down, the hammers, representing fabrication and repair, animate and rise up from the floor to restore the broken pieces back to their original positions as part of the projection.
This piece takes some inspiration from the work of Joanie Lemercer, who works with triangles in her projection mapping, as I do, but her style is very paired back and simple, often lacking strong colour. Here, I create hand-drawn and messy images that have become a staple in many of my works, but in a more simplistic style, using simple hand-drawn shape animations rather than film or intricate drawings. In this way, All your old devices miss you is very different to most of my previous artworks involving wall shapes. The drawn triangles cycle through an animation of several different colours and shapes, making their hand-drawn nature more obvious. my usual glitched film also makes an appearance on about 50% of the triangles.
The structure was a challenge, as while I was in charge of the plans for this piece, the venue that I worked in insisted that they fabricate the piece themselves, and I did not have a chance to see their final product or plans until the day of install. Similarly, their plans for what materials would be used changed the day before install. Thus, I had to keep a very open mind when creating content for this piece, and be prepared to make large last minute changes during testing. I did eventually have to rethink my animations and output source file the day before the event.
I am interested in creating an interactive version of this piece (or a larger version of this piece) that has two large buttons in front of it on a tall, thin plinth. The buttons will read ‘FIX?’ or ‘THROW?’, and the audience is left with the moral decision to fix the artwork, or replace the projection with a new one.
A nice addition to this artwork would have been to have the ‘fixed’ pieces look slightly more worn each time they were repaired by the hammers, but as this was just a looping video file fed through projection mapping software, this was simply beyond the scope of this project at this time.
After looking at the piece with hindsight, I can also see possibilities for something similar as a floor projection that represents topology.