A Project by Atelier Hauert Reichmuth & Volker Böhm (CH)
Cable Gallery 7. – 23.10.2010
an audiovisual environment with artificial personality
TRiCKSTR is an audiovisual environment. It consists of a large pixel light wall, loudspeaker, a pressure-sensitive and camera-monitored action arena, as well as generative and interactive sound and image software. In addition, this complex environment includes a voice that demonstrates the readiness to communicate whenever humans step into the action arena. When there is no longer anyone on the action floor, TRiCKSTR enters regenerative mode, i.e., lapses into contemplation about itself…
“The trickster is an alchemist, a magician, creating realities in the duality of time and illusion…
A massive presence is established in the space by a pixel light wall, a gigantic illuminator finely articulated through many individual lamp modules. The eye is captivated by moving image patterns: rhythmical, abstract ornamentation dissolves into chaotic disorder; cycles oscillate producing pulsating light waves; color in gradients of sepia gives the impression that the physical materiality of the illuminator itself changes. The impression of movement and dynamics is intensified by sound, which is so closely coupled with the image that it is impossible to tell whether the sound has evoked the image or vice versa. Whether through light or darkness, sound or silence, space is dynamically activated by the machine – also by means of a repeatedly occurring voice!
Slightly irritating; the machine speaks; the sound is suddenly loaded semantically and appears no longer bound to the moving light image. Trickstr’s recited leaps of thought concern a critic of the multiple worlds and levels of which Trickstr itself has been constituted. Specific topics include the invention and developmental history of electricity, the computer, robots, and automats. The very concept of invention itself is explored, as well as the definition of art since the 20th Century. In fact, Trickstr aims to question all formal systems, in particular their assumed irrefutability as well as their fallibility. This fallibility is humorously underscored by Trickstr’s own frequent error messages. Paradoxes and contradictions within and between fields of thought are also pointed out. The voice is synthesized, it is a trick and a deceit, a counterfeit simulation of human communication. We find ourselves seduced into anthropomorphizing this abstract environment. But just as a text has been formulated, it starts to dissolve again into its individual tonal parts which then merge with the sound machine.
The fact that the machine can also be influenced is discovered when the exhibition visitor enters the action space, a slightly raised stage located at some distance from the light wall. By treading on this platform, the player is confronted with his or her own pixelated image and the trademark sound of Trickstr announc-ing it is awake from its self-absorbed mode. Trickstr is ready to play!
Different modules alternate trickily back and forth: sometimes the machine reacts intensely and dynamically to the player’s movements. Just the smallest shifts of weight give rise to light storms and sound tempests; then the machine again demonstrates its sluggishness and forces the player to move faster and faster; at times it is a game to be played; at others it is a sound landscape to be explored. Then once again the aim is to just dance, really dance, the way Trickstr loves it!
The player alone can decide how long this interactive mode is to last; as soon as the stage is empty, Trickstr – after personally saying good-bye – once again falls back into its generative state.
More information: www.trickstr.ch
The exhibition is part of the Cartes Flux 2010 – Festival of New Media Art
Cable Factory, Tallberginkatu 1, Helsinki
Opening hours: Tue 11–18, Wed-Fri 11–17, Sat-Sun 12–16