Ethereal Landscapes | Contained | Death of Ivan IIych

Contained Flash Image 2007


Contained is an interactive installation environment that resides in both the visual arts and the performing arts camps. Four immense scrims hang centered in the space. The scrims gradually begin to move, slowly, shifting independently and possessing an enormity and grace. The four scrims’ movements are controlled by the performer through a series of preconceived phrases and a wireless microphone that trigger specific actions in the system. An interactive robotics system permits each scrim to pivot at a center axis and allows the environment to shift its geometry over time.

Moving and still images, and text projected on the panels change in concert with the movement of the scrims and the shifts in the sound space. Each arrangement of the scrims designates a distinct ‘state’, a series of images and sounds centered on a specific thematic idea such as body or landscape. But her control is limited. The system allows the performer only a certain number of commands before it insists on containing her and ‘replenishing’ itself. The number of commands is determined by the amount of time, signaled by the accumulation of real-time video loops, in which the performer stays contained in the ‘hungry state’. She can control the movement of the screens into the different states, the synchronicity or non- of the images, and the volume of the sound. The system has its own agency as well, changing to an alternate symmetry of the current state anytime it senses a lengthy stillness in the environment. It is the interaction between the performer, her spoken words, both improvised and set, her movements and the shifting architecture, images and sounds of the system that defines the work. Her improvisation and the system’s response creates a distinct series of events and reactions each time. The environment both contains the performer and the viewer and acts as a container for images, ideas and relationships, creating multiple perspectives, both literally and metaphorically.