Beautiful Isle of Somewhere About


Beautiful Isle of Somewhere is an interactive installation using video footage I captured last summer in my garden back home. I placed a yellow candy sucker on a small piece of plexiglass on the dirt ground. It took two weeks of constant work (and feasting) for the ants to ‘remove’ the sucker from the garden.Using a small wireless camera, I captured one minute of video of the ants’ activity every ten minutes during daylight hours. The resulting time-lapsed footage is five hours long. For the final version of the installation, the time-lapsed footage of the disappearing sucker and the swarming ants will be projected onto a gallery wall from floor to ceiling – big like the sun. A focused sound speaker in the ceiling directly above the projection will create a 3-foot-round area of sound. The video will play in real time, but if viewers stand in the focused sound area (known in acoustics as ‘the sweet spot’), they will hear early American spiritual music and the video will progressively speed up, depending on how long the viewers stands still. If the viewers stand in the sweet spot long enough, they can see the total length of the video, till the sucker is consumed. For the ants, the removal of the sucker was a glorious bounty and a tremendous task. For the viewer of this interactive installation, the experience will be of layered shifts in scale: the momentous scale of the ant-sized task; the giant size of the projected sucker; the two weeks of captured video footage condensed down into five hours; and, most critically, the time shifting that a singular viewer is able to affect and the accompanying harmonic shifts in scale of the early American spiritual music.