Jim Campbell

Balancing Act

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CLIENT: Zeche Zollern II/IV
2000

The installation BALANCING ACT consists of a dark rectangular room with a large square rear projection video screen at one end and a small LCD video screen at the other end. On the floor, next to and facing the large screen, there is a walker filled with lead. In front of the walker, on the large screen, is a changing solid color field of light. Towards the bottom of the color field, there is a shadow of the walker.

As the viewer heads towards the walker and stands near it or within it, he perceives that the shadow of the walker in the image is not live. In other words, even if the viewer is looking at the image from within the walker, ha still sees the shadow of an empty walker. It seems like a mirror in which the viewer does not exist. The color field of light is constantly changing, slowly transitioning from one color to the next, lighting the whole space and the viewer with a single color at any one moment.

On the small video monitor at the other end of the room, there is a still image from the Wizard of Oz, produced in 1939. The image is taken from the scene shortly after Dorothy meets the Scarecrow which has a hard time standing because his knees are made of straw. When the viewer gets close to the small image he sees a single black pixel slowly moving from the left to the right and then down along a line, slowly scanning the image. It soon becomes apparent that the moving black pixel represents the location of the color that is currently being displayed on the rear projection screen behind the viewer.

As the pixel moves across the yellow brick road, the room fills with yellow light immersing the viewer in the same color as the moving black pixel on the image is being immersed in, giving the viewer the sensation of being within the image as a pixel and stuck in a 2 D world without being able to see beyond.

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