18 February 2007

Bill Viola Framed: Where are the angels?

Watching a clip from Bill Viola's "I Do Not Know What It Is I Am Like" on YouTube, it struck me how the computer restates the frame again and again. I took this photo to try to communicate the phenomenon of how my computer monitor, the web browser and the YouTube site, triple the frame of Viola's piece, which itself has a frame in its own frame (the frame of the video monitor, here with an image of a toucan). Yet even as the idea struck me to document my observation I realized I would be compounding it further by blogging it; adding the frames of the blog, the browser, and the computer again.

I have been thinking about a solution to the theoretical problem of the holographic cinema. My solution is theoretically elegant and potentially physically and technologically impossible. It was a flash of insight I had in a bar in Berlin during my visit to Transmediale.

The tyranny is the projector. The revolutionary answer is what I like to call the nanopixel. Imagine a microscopic cube capable of emitting a different colored light on each of its faces. Now imagine millions of these microscopic cubes suspended in some kind of electromagnetic vacuum. Each cube can wirelessly receive color information, luminosity information and dynamic positioning information in space. These nanopixels form ephemeral solids representing actors, sets and props; digital skins containing hollow cinematic bodies. A kind of elaborate, programmable, kinetic, narrative sculpture medium.

To record the data for the six faces of the nanopixels, a sophisticated system of either four (tetrahedron formation) or six (cubic formation) high-frequency, high-resolution imaging scanners would be deployed on set to get all angles necessary. The audience could sit in the round or in more conventional theatric seating.

My friend Florian Grond analyzed it in terms of mystical metaphor in which the scanner-cameras are the omniscient eye-of-god and the nanopixels are angels.

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