Blue Swimmer
3-channel interactive video installation with sound
Active motion by viewers affects, but does not control, playback of the images. Here the viewers are moving and the image reacts by moving faster, having higher contrast, and moving more towards an abstract halftone dot pattern.
Blue Swimmer is a continuation of my work using games and sports to examine ideas about play and creativity. Games and sports provide a helpful matrix for thinking about the creativity that is involved in trying to follow a rule. As Ludwig Wittgenstein pointed out, it is not possible to have a rule for following every rule. So instead we play, exerting all our creativity to find an action that meets with our interpretation of the rule.
As this viewer stands still and observes the swimmers, the images play at a “realistic” speed and an image quality that is easy to decipher.
The original images upon which Blue Swimmer is based were created with the photographic technologies of their time to try to convey, as comprehensively as possible, the rules for performing a butterfly stroke or a competition dive. These images demonstrate, bewitchingly, the distance between lived experience and the carefully orchestrated representation of experience which aligns them poetically with the task of exploring the gap between the rule and the action that results from it.
Blue Swimmer is made possible by the Harvestworks Artist in Residence Program and Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Swing Space program.

Project Engineer: Gene Kogan, with additional help from Kyle Kaplan.

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