step inside

 

step inside is a multi-sensory environment that calls attention to our actions and affects as communal and embodied beings. It provokes us to re-think our bodies as “collage[s] in motion,” always making and responding to matters around us. step inside implies multiplicity, reciprocity, and movement as intrinsic to the performance of bodies in society. As Elizabeth Ermarth would say, “I swing, therefore I am” (Sequel to History).

When ‘stepping inside’ the 3 x 3 x 3 meter interaction space, viewer-participants are immediately confronted with an amplified and echoed trail of noise. This is the sound of each footstep they take, of all the footwork in the room. A video camera, opposite them and connected to the step inside software, “reads their bodies,” and separates them out from the background. Instead of a video mirror directly in front of them, their 2-dimensional forms are projected as profile, to their left, and filled with video static. The amplitude of the echoed footsteps controls the video’s opacity. We, and our representations, become a variable wave of embodied noise.

A written statement, as a provocation to movement, is on the far wall of the space. It invites participants to perform, direct, react to, and interact with, the images and sounds they create. It asks them to try walking, crawling, gesturing, with their bodies; play between silence and tapping, scratching, audio-theatrics on the floor. Through experimentation, viewers’ performances will change, as they try and direct their image to suit their fancy – a purposeful performative act. They are both inside, and looking from the outside-in.

External, non-interacting viewers will also see the performer’s projected image, but not their bodies or actions inside the space. They can only guess the intent of step inside’s participant, who can likewise only attempt to promote a well-read re-presentation of his or her body in the communal gallery space and time. There’s a literal wall between what we project with our performance, and how this might be perceived by others.

step inside literally frames, and accents, the minute details of willing and unwilling communication, through movement in and with others. Rather than mirroring us back to our ’selves’, it provokes ‘body’ and ‘bodies’ as question, and shifts our perspectives on where and how these do not begin or end.