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'Another Day' at The Ormeau Baths Gallery,
3 flat screen monitors, 2 computers, network connection, software
based live feed, DVD.
Another Day (another dollar) maps data money across
the globe in time.
Using live webcam data the two side monitors constantly follow the rotation
of the Earth, the left monitor showing a position of dusk and the right
monitor of dawn. At any moment in time the selection of cam is determined
both by the physical motion of the planet but also by the distribution
of available cams.
The determinants of webcam distribution are various, including science,
engineering and art uses. The predominant determinants, however, are
security, civic and corporate identity along with commercial promotion
(bars, tourist locations, shopping and housing developments).
The rate at which the images refresh is also determined by available
bandwidth. The refresh rate varies from almost live video to a refresh
rate of one image every 4 years (the one web cam in Pakistan). Although
it would be wrong to suggest a direct correlation between cash and refresh
rate it is (along with geographical density) roughly indexical of wealth.
Some large areas of the planet have no usable and accessible web cams
at all (much of Asia and Africa and the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans)
which means that there are periods when one of the monitors will be black.
Fortunately for the experience of the work, these are relatively
short periods during the opening hours of a gallery in Belfast in September/October
but sufficient to make the point. This will vary as the exhibition
progress and allows new temporal montages to be constructed during
the course of the show. The feeds were monitored
daily and updated on an approximately weekly basis or when a change
of site and the relationships between the images becomes significant.
The central screen of the triptych, Ground
1, has been made with a machine constructed to show the movement
of the Earth and to point out that the viewer isn't the center of
the universe. The mechanism gives long exposures of the sky and
ground sufficient to create a star scape. Simultaneously it revolves
at a rate of one revolution every 24 hours, thereby allowing the
stars very little movement and the Earth rotates around the edges
of the frame. Initially devised to be shown independantly it quickly
became apparent that it was the central section of Another Day.
Initial impulse to build the machine came from reading Adam Smith
On the History of Astronomy in which he attempts to describe
the process of scientific discovery. In the model the first phase
is "surprise" which is in turn replaced by "wonder"
and it is the job of the scientist to transform this into "admiration".
Ground 1 was composed partly as an attempt to reverse this.
Equally the centrality of the Earth in a theological cosmology functioned
as a primary lie of power, as Giordano Bruno found out to his cost
(500 odd other heresies taken into account).
Although the cam panels are only updated
during shows the index pages for each can be reached at
Quicktime and Shockwave players needed to
work by Brendan Byrne