Particularly in this age of awareness of electronic art, it is important to remember that artists can still be concerned with process and engage in a creative form of interactive progression. In the spirit of remembering process and progress, the artist shares the digital images and studies in traditional book forms used to create this installation. It is an interactive installation exploring imagery inspired by the salt-beaten Veneto-Byzantine port city of Venice, Italy. A handmade picture book is the device through which the participant controls computer based still images and animations. In the dimly lit installation space, the participant can sit at a table and turn the pages of a candle-lit artist’s book. Custom electrical wiring allows communication between the book and the computer with each page of the book corresponding to complementary digital 2D image sequences and 3D animated sequences. The sequences appear on a monitor at the table. All of the imagery, both in the book and stored in the computer, consists of the artist’s original stills and animations. The juxtaposition of the book and the digital imagery serves to bring the book to life by adding motion. The environment is further enhanced by an original sound track inspired by chants and religious liturgy. The integration of image and sound creates a peaceful, sacred space conducive to reflection. While the installation is not specifically religious in nature, the experience could be likened to the very personal acts of meditation and prayer. Much as a prayer book, the handmade book acts as a point of departure for these acts. The book structure is the vehicle through which the participant communicates, controlling the pace of the interaction and thus customizing and personalizing the experience. Books have a place in our cultural history and development that cannot be denied. Currently, we are witnessing the transformation of the book from an analog to digital form. While the advantages of the digital book are many,there remain aspects of the physical book form that have not been replicated digitally. Specifically, their organic nature has not been preserved. Without A Special Object of Worship preserves the tactile, spatial qualities of the book form while simultaneously taking advantage of technological innovation in digital forms. With this piece, a bridge has been established for continued research and development in the marriage of traditional analog interactive models with their digital counterparts, specifically in the study of book forms.
- Jacquelyn Martino (U.S.A.) is an interactive artist concentrating on experimental forms of multimedia using both traditional and digital tools. Her work has shown in the United States and Europe inluding most recently the SIGGRAPH ’96 Art Show:The Bridge, ACM Multimedia ’96, SIGGRAPH ’94 Art and Design Show, Ars Electronica Festival ’95, the Liberty Science Center Digital Showcase and the International Festival of Computer Arts: Bit Movie ’95 and ’96. Her research and art reviews have been published in journals such as Leonardo and Computer Graphics. She holds a B.A. in Mathematics/Computer Science and Italian from Mount Holyoke College, an M. A. in Instruction Technology and Media from Columbia University and an M. F. A. in Computer Graphics from Pratt Institute. She has taught interactive multimedia at Columbia University and at Pratt Institute. Currently, she holds a position on the Board of Directors, ACM/NYC SIGGRAPH. She has contributed to the development of interactive titles for children as a product designer for Microsoft Corporation, and recently she has joined Philips Research, U.S.A. as a senior member of the Research Staff, where she works on interaction designs.