Anchoring the hub of Dallas’ nascent arts district, the interactive video installation “From Here” is rapidly transforming surveillance into artwork. From the moment the piece was erected in the lobby of the One Arts Plaza building last April, its two high-definition cameras began to record and archive the events and people that give the location its character. Designed by Chicago-based artist Lincoln Schatz, the footage will be synthesized and displayed in four layers that seem to wash over each other on two 9’ x 9’ video walls.

Schatz, trained as a fine artist at Bennington College, actually handwrites the software that controls each piece. It’s the software that determines what is recorded, which moments are kept or discarded, and what footage is played and when. It functions like two people watching the same space at the same time but with different recollections of what’s been happening there. “The software has tremendous latitude, the ability to develop the work on its own,” says Schatz. “It’s this lower intelligence and yet, through it, you end up with really, really elegant results.”

“From Here” may be one of the largest new media work to go up in an American public space thus far. The video collages contextualize and document a busy lobby, and the entire community that muss pass through it, but the results are contemplated at an individual level. “When you stand in front of it, what you’ll start to understand is that while the two screen bays act as two different people, you are the third person in this triangle, the third perspective,” says Schatz. “You begin to understand that reality is ultimately just perception.”

By Shonquis Moreno
Surface Magazine | July, 2007
© 2007 Surface Magazine