[ISEA97] Artists Statement: Paul Debevec & Golan Levin – Rouen Revisited

Artists Statement

Between 1892 and 1894, the French Impressionist Claude Monet produced nearly 30 oil paintings of the main facade of the Rouen Cathedral in Normandy. Fascinated by the play of light and atmosphere over the Gothic church, Monet systematically painted the cathedral at different times of day, from slightly different angles, and in varied weather conditions. Each painting, quickly executed, offers a glimpse into a narrow slice of time and mood. We are interested in widening these slices, extending and connecting the dots occupied by Monet’s paintings in the multidimensional space of turn-of-the-century Rouen. In Rouen Revisited, we present an interactive kiosk in which users are invited to explore the facade of the Rouen Cathedral, as Monet might have painted it, from any angle, time of day, and degree of atmospheric haze. Users can contrast these re-rendered paintings with similar views synthesized from century-old archival photographs, as well as from recent photographs that reveal the scars of a century of weathering and war. Rouen Revisited is our homage to the hundredth anniversary of Monet’s cathedral paintings. Like Monet’s series, our installation is a constellation of impressions, a document of moments and precepts played out over space and time. In our homage, we extend the scope of Monet’s study to where he could not go, bringing forth his object of fascination from a hundred feet in the air and across a hundred years of history. Supported by: Interval Research Corporation and University of California, Berkeley. flong.com/projects/rouen

  • Paul Debevec (USA) received degrees in Math and Computer Engineering from the University of Michigan in 1992 and completed a Ph.D. in Computer Science at the University of California at Berkeley in December 1996. For his thesis, he developed a method of modeling and rendering architec­tural scenes photorealistically from ordinary photographs by synthesizing techniques from computer vision with those of computer graphics. With Golan Levin, Debevec applied these techniques in an interactive exploration of the Rouen Cathedral and Monet’s paintings thereof in the 1996 work Rouen Revisited. More recently, Debevec wrote and produced The Campanile, a short film that plays with perspective by blending real video with photorealistic 3D renderings of the Berkeley hell tower and its surrounding environment. Both of these works were shown at the SIG-GRAPH computer graphics conference. In the future, Debevec will continue his efforts to capture, visualize, and interpret the world in creative and educational ways through novel photographic techniques.
  • Golan Levin (U.S.A.) is an artist and designer of artifacts and experiences. Before he joined Interval Research in 1994, Golan completed his self-made undergraduate degree in Media Arts and Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Since then, he has focused on the design of interactive and expressive instruments for producing and playing with media.