Liminal is an interactive installation that seeks to reify the boundary between present and past through a play of projected light. It employs a photographic process called slit-scan to spread out time in space. Its visual aspect stretches out time while spatiality is expressed via its audio component.
Appearing as a portal of light, the artwork presents itself as a glowing ring 2.75 meters in diameter, suspended vertically. A black-and-white image is projected onto a nearby wall (see video link below). As people penetrate the ring, they see their reflection on the far left of the projection. Emanating from this narrow mirror, a luminous slit is continually extended towards the right, eventually fading into light. This acts as a visual metaphor – the present constantly replacing the past – which is inexorably shifted into the oblivion of white light at the far right of the screen. In a sense the artwork emphasizes that light is the past – the twinkle we see in the night sky is but a momentary snapshot of the stars’ former appearance. Light is the manifestation of events that have already occurred.
The audio component of the piece enhances the performative aspect of the experience. The intersection of the interactor within the two-dimensional space of the ring generates sound according to her spatial position. The acoustic ambiance (manipulated white noise) originating from the installation is modulated according to her vertical location, and its intensity is correlated to her physical involvement within the portal. The body of the interactor exacerbates the musicality of the work since it can be “played” like a musical instrument – a light Theremin in a sense.
Both of these modes of interaction are not stated explicitly to the public. The installation’s affordances require experimentation and deduction on the part of the interactor. Its physical appearance (a portal) offers clues about the manner in which it may be used, while the narrow sliver of present time on the projected image from which emanates the past hints at the mechanism used by slit-scan photography. Likewise, the musicality of the audio component becomes self-evident through trial-and-error. The spontaneous discovery of these means of interaction becomes in my opinion an important source of gratification for the interactor.
The result is an experience that is both playful and contemplative. It was observed during the testing phase of the prototype that the piece seems to generate genuine enthusiasm and sparks the desire to not only interact with the installation, but for the public to interact with one another within the confines of the installation. This type of engagement is exactly what motivates me as an artist.
The piece was unveiled during the IMAGINAD event on December 20, 2018, at the Marché Bonsecours exhibition hall in Montreal, Canada.