THE ( ) BETWEEN
THE (DATA) BETWEEN
THE (NOISE) BETWEEN
THE (WAVES) BETWEEN
THE (MOMENT) BETWEEN
THE (HORIZON) BETWEEN
THE (WATER) BETWEEN
THE (ANCHOR) BETWEEN
THE (FERRY) BETWEEN
THE (TIME) BETWEEN
THE (SKIPPING) BETWEEN
For many of us living in the Burlington area, Lake Champlain is a daily presence. We drink it, boat in it, swim in it, skate on it. When we flush, our liquids start a journey back to the lake. As the sun breaks or sets over its surface, we take moments to commune with the elemental or at the very least, take a picture for later reference. We read about runoff and wonder about phosphorous, coliform levels, atrazine.
In an age when big data promises more confident decision making and higher understanding of complex correlations sometimes you still have the irrational impulse to jump into cold water. Media artists Sean Clute and Al Larsen team up to create THE ( ) BETWEEN, an interactive audiovisual installation influenced by their relationship with Lake Champlain. The installation offers the audience a mediated and visceral experience with water and life. THE ( ) BETWEEN, a title inspired by the Abenaki word Petonbowk, invokes the lake as both physical and metaphorical medium, suggesting a space between experience and expectations, between measurement and memory, between the ideal and the everyday.
The content of THE ( ) BETWEEN includes three walls of synchronized video projection, autobiographical sculptural objects and immersive sound. Digital elements are networked by a computer running custom software. The technology allows for the work to transition between unfiltered landscapes of Lake Champlain to datasets revealing the lake’s vitality. Research data gathered by students from Middlebury College’s Environmental Studies Program on pollutants and invasive species are artistically highlighted as are live data-streams from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) KBTV weather station.
Sculpturally, the viewers can observe and manipulate a number of autobiographical objects in the gallery. These artifacts include children’s toys, buckets of wet rocks, beach towels, old postcards, a chess game and a large amount of local detritus. The objects allude to a memory of place and time, giving a personal connection or story to the data rich video projections.
The installation is organized as a set of ten tracks (see track names above). The tracks each have different conceptual and thematic qualities. Viewers experience the tracks in a random order as determined by the custom software. Thus unlike a linear video installation, viewers never experience the installation in the same way twice.
The viewer becomes further immersed in the installation due to a soundtrack that plays throughout and correlates directly to each video track. The sonic environment includes field recordings of the lake, composed music and highly processed data sound.
Credits: By Sean Clute and Al Larsen
Technical production: Leif Hunneman
Special thanks: Burlington City Arts, Ashley Jimenez, Meara McGinniss, Heather Ferrell, Judson Browning, Champlain College Emergent Media Center, Middlebury College Environmental Studies Program, Media Arts Research Studio (MARS) @ Johnson State College, 339 Pine Street Studios, DJ Hellerman, family, friends and Champy