Jacob Wrestling With The Angel consists of a video camera attached to a motorized camera mount, a video monitor and a number of objects arranged in a semi-circle around the camera. The motor rotates the camera similar to an airport surveillance camera. As the camera pans around the room, the motor pauses it as it points at each object. The objects are recorded on video tape along with audio tones which start and stop the motor. On play-back the camera pans around the room, stopping at each object as it did when the objects were recorded. To the viewer, it appears that the camera is “looking” at each object and displaying them on the video monitor. However, the camera is no longer on. The video monitor is showing pre-recorded images. The objects have all changed over time. Flowers which were fresh when the video was recorded now lie wilted on the floor; the monitor shows a block of ice in a pan, on the floor there is now a pan of water, etc. A position sensor attached to the motor sends information to an Apple II computer which changes this information to audio tones which are recorded on the video tape along with the video picture. On play-back the audio tones are sent back to the computer, and converted back to position information. The computer compares the position that was originally recorded, with the current position and can speed up the motor that the camera is mounted on, to synchronize the past to the present movement.
ISEA Archives Video Channel:
- Doug Back, Independent Artist, Toronto, Canada