Interactive Film Installations
'Airwaves' (2017) 'Road Trips' (2015, 2016)
In January of 2015 I was invited to pitch an idea for an installation piece for the upcoming Nuit Blanche in Toronto. I had never done one before but I’d always wanted to, so I leapt at the chance. A successful pitch meant I would join Group 4d2 a Toronto artist collective comprised of many artists I admired for years. I came up with the concept for Road Trips based on the theme of transformation, birth and rebirth.
Going “on the road” is often portrayed as a setting for personal change in film and books and the idea connected with me because I've experienced meaningful change and gained insight as a result of being on the road. I came up with the relatable the notion that a car becomes a traveler’s home when road tripping and I like installation art with a strong sense of environment so the environment then became a hybrid of a car and a living space: car fenders, doors, bumpers and steering
wheels would co-exist with couches, lamps, radios, TVs and video game consoles.
When the pitch was accepted, I was happy but also felt a bit nervous. I actually didn't know how to create the technology I needed to ensure compelling interactivity in the piece - something I felt was essential. I have never shied away from teaching myself new things and so I began by learning some basic electronics and becoming familiar with Arduino microprocessors. Using these microprocessors, I created license plates, stereo dials and a steering wheel with which the visitors to the installation could play with the installation environment and thus create their own 'road trip' narrative experience. The film presentation and manipulation software I settled on was vvvv after experimenting with a few. For what I was doing, it proved the most stable and expressive.
From its inception, the Road Trips concept had the built-in possibility to become a series, so after I was satisfied with the results of the first iteration, The DJs in 2015, I did a second version in 2016 called
Icarus (1987) which advanced the concept both environmentally and narratively. Both pieces were equally satisfying for me as an artist and equally enjoyable for visitors based on feedback in part because each had its own distinct personality. Nuit Blanche is interesting because with these pieces there was no test run. I worked on them, installed them and then suddenly they are in use! Twelve short hours later, it's all over. I couldn't resist watching visitors play and experience their own road trips so I hid out and watched the