SEE BANFF! bears a strong – and intentional – resemblance to an Edison kinetoscope, which made its public debut one hundred years ago in April 1894. It achieved instant popularity, but was shortlived. One and a half years later, in December 1895, the Lumiere brothers publicly exhibited projected film for the first time, and cinema as we know it was born. The kinetoscope became a transitionary symbol during a turbulent era in the media arts.
Physically, SEE BANFF! is a self-contained unit about the size of a podium, made out of walnut and brass, with a viewing hood on top and a crank on the side, as well as a selector for chosing one of the silent “views.” These views were filmed around Banff and rural Alberta in autumn 1993. They were recorded with two stop-frame 16mm film cameras mounted on a “super jogger” baby carriage. Stereoscopic recording was either triggered by an intervalometer (for
timelapse) or by an encoder on one of the carriage wheels (for dollys and moviemaps). Since the filming was “stop-frame” (rather than “real-time”), time and space appear compressed. The imagery is part of an investigation of the role of media and its relationship to landscape, tourism, and growth. Recordings were made dollying along waterfalls, glaciers, mountains, and farmland; moviemapping up and down popular natural trails; and timelapsing tourists. SEE BANFF! looks and feel like a real kinetoscope. Turning the crank allows the user to browse back and forth, to “move through” the material. SEE BANFF! is an interactive stereoscopic kinetoscope installation. It is based on footage recorded during the third and final phase of Michael Naimark’s “Field Recording Studies”, a project in the Art and Virtual Environments program of the Banff Centre for the Arts, produced in collaboration with Interval Research in
- Michael Naimark spent 12 years as an independent media artist before joining Interval Research in 1992. Naimark has held faculty appointments at the San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco State University, Cal Arts, M.I.T., the University of Michigan (all USA), and is on the Editorial Boards of Presence and Leonardo Electronic Almanac. His artwork has been exhibited internationally.