[ISEA2019] Artist Statement: Louis-Philippe Rondeau – LIMINAL

Artist Statement

Acrylic, aluminium, camera, code, computer, leds, projector, speakers, 275x245x10 cm.

Liminal is an interactive installation that seeks to reify the boundary between present and past through a play of projected light. It employs a photographic process called slit-scan to spread out time in space. Its visual aspect stretches out time while spatiality is expressed via its audio component. Appearing as a glowing portal of light, the installation mirrors the interactor, albeit with a temporal distortion. This manipulation of time acts as a visual metaphor – the present constantly replacing the past – which is inexorably shifted into the oblivion of white light. In a sense the artwork emphasizes that light is the past
– the twinkle we see in the night sky is but a momentary snapshot of the stars’ former appearance. Light is the manifestation of events that have already occurred.
The audio component of the piece enhances the performative aspect of the experience. The intersection of the interactor within the two-dimensional space of the ring generates sound according to her spatial position. The acoustic ambiance (manipulated white noise) originating from the installation is modulated according to her vertical location, and its intensity is correlated to her physical involvement within the portal. The body of the interactor exacerbates the musicality of the work since the installation can be “played” like a musical instrument – a light Theremin in a sense.
Both of these modes of interaction are not stated explicitly to the public. The installation’s affordances require experimentation and deduction on the part of the interactor. Its physical appearance (a portal) offers clues about the manner in which it may be approached, while the narrow sliver of present time on the projected image from which emanates the past hints at the mechanism used by slit-scan photography. Likewise, the musicality of the audio component becomes self-evident through trial-and-error. The spontaneous discovery of these means of interaction becomes an important source of gratification for the interactor. Video: LIMINAL @ Ars Electronica 2019

  • Louis-Philippe Rondeau is a visual artist and teacher in Montreal, Canada. In his works, Rondeau develops devices that explore self-representation in a playful and unconventional manner. His research-creation approach reveals as much a search for simplicity of design for users, as an interest in the complexity of computer code and the execution of physical objects. While situating his research in the history of serial and sequential photography popularized in the 19th century, Rondeau’s works with digital images –unlike analog photography– do not stand for reality. Drawing upon the novel and sometimes marginal means of self-representation dating back to early photography, his works aim to reintroduce somewhat forgotten processes while benefitting from the sense of agency and immediacy that digital tools can afford us. Mainly revolved around the mirror’s modus operandi, his installations compel the viewer to reconsider the conventions employed in the mediation of images, specifically those pertaining to the representation of space and time.