Place: Medialab-Prado. Plaza de las Letras, C/ Alameda, 15 · Madrid
Interactivos?'08: Vision Play event will take place from May 30 to June 14, 2008. This seminar-workshop will be directed by Alvaro Cassinelli and Simone Jones, with the participation of Daniel Canogar, Pablo Valbuena, Julian Oliver, Pix and Ángela Ramos, in addition to many collaborators. Besides the two-week workshop, seminars, lectures and miniworkshops will also be held.
> Developed projects showcase (June 19 - September 13, 2008)
This new edition of Interactivos? is aimed at artists, magicians, engineers, musicians, programmers, designers, film & video makers, architects, hackers, opticians, psychologists, or any other person interested in presenting a project on this topic.
The workshop aims to use open hardware and open code tools to create prototypes for exploring image technologies and mechanisms of perception.
· A review of image technologies from their origins to the present: perspective, lenses, anamorphosis, panoramas, optical toys, magic lanterns, effects, optical illusions, etc.
· Work that expands conventional notions of projection and screen: augmented reality, the use of projections on three-dimensional surfaces and physical objects, immersion environments, etc.
· Investigation around different light sources in multimedia installations: use of sunlight and other conventional light sources not based on digital projection, to create images, mobile/controlled shadows and other optical effects; use of light as sculpting material.
· Exploring human visual perception, its qualities and limits.
This event aims to be a collective platform for research, production, and learning, offering substantial help and support in developing the projects selected. The proposals will be carried out in multidisciplinary task groups comprised by the author(s) and interested collaborators, with conceptual and technical advice from the teaching staff.
The selected projects must be open to the participation of other interested collaborators, who will be able to contribute to the production of the pieces during the development of the workshop. Therefore, there are two levels of involvement with the workshop: as a project leader, or as a collaborator in any one of the selected projects. Once the projects have been selected, the second step in the process will involve a new call for those people who would like to participate in the projects' production.
Is anyone today surprised to see moving pictures? The "magic of the cinema" no longer amazes us because we have become totally accustomed to it. We pursue new enchantments insatiably: there is talk of 3D cinema, and now and then a film is made that uses (or abuses) supposedly new dimensions in sound and picture. The results, however, are usually disappointing: instead of something new, they are merely "special effects", with varying degrees of success. In contrast, in their era, cinematographers did contribute something truly transcendent: movement, previously only suggested, became the raw material of composition.
In our day, when it seems technology can do anything, how can we help but fall prey to the illusion that a few improvements to our instruments will serve to recapture the magic? That is to fail to realize that technological limits can aid creation, provided we don't lose sight of what and where they are. Shadow plays, for example (which are in a way the archetype of the suggested), have existed for thousands of years in many cultures. They arose from the undefined shapes of shadows thrown up against cave walls from fires, the play of light and shadow amid tree branches, and so many other simple things that will always serve to trigger our imagination. That is why it is imperative that we return to thinking as if cinematographers had never existed: to reclaim some of the magic they have stolen.
Digital technology can be a very useful tool, provided that it is not used as an aid to classic cinema narration (3D, computer graphics, and all their henchmen). Only then will it lead us into unexplored territory, because it is able to do more than recreate the illusion of movement: interactivity gives images a life of their own and they decide when and why they will move. Digital technology also frees the image from a physical format and the obligation to remain a mere reflection of reality. A living image, freed of container and content: certainly a very powerful spell. It could even be pure light and its reflections in space. But—careful!- digital technology could also end up subjugating that magic. It already does, by imposing its particular media on us: projector, screen, pixels, and all the rest.
One cannot forget the medium, however - our body and its limits in perception mean we are part of it. The only way we can keep it from closing us in is to know it better. Imitating the prisoner in Plato's Cave, when he is freed and discovers the true mechanism of shadows: that can be one of the objectives of "Juegos de la Visión" (Vision Play).