"Protest" a video remix performance by screaMachine using the "V.R.A.G." (video remix artillery gun). The artist controls both the direction of the beam and the content of the video. As the projection moves around the room, the focus of activity moves. By utilizing all surfaces in the area, the artist redifines the space and the traditional audience viewing experience.
"Protest" uses a series of animated video clips made available for instant playback via the MIDI controller switches on the V.R.A.G. These clips will be mixed live by the artist as he projects them around the performance space.
The artist shot many hours of footage at the huge anti war rally in New York City in February 2003. This footage was then time remapped in an animation program such that it pauses and zooms onto significant frames every second. If these frames are 2 seconds apart, then those 2 seconds pass in 1 second, if they are 1 minute apart, then a minute is compressed into 1 second, and equally smaller time segments are expanded to fit the 1 second template. The footage is then sorted and arranged into clips to be played back from a video sampler via MIDI. Each clip is combined with an appropriate audio field recording: protest chants for marchers and banners, cop sirens and loud hailer commands for police footage. Once loaded into the sampler, each clip can be played at any time and in any order, sped up, slowed down, player forward/backward etc. The artist makes these editing decisions live, alongside choosing where the projection beam hits. The chaotic dynamic of the protest, with its cacophony and immersive, surrounding action is recreated in the gallery performance space. The animated video clips appear like still images that can be navigated through, with strange motion; these images give a further sense of space and environment as they are mapped onto the walls of the gallery space.
The use of stark, high-contrast black and white further enhances the polarity of the imagery: the opposing forces, the peacemakers versus the riot cops, freedom versus containment, chants versus commands etc. A similar dichotomy is played out in the performance iconography; a performer, in military style clothing, operating a device that mimics an artillery gun, fills the space with a loud and assertive plea for peace

© Gearóid Dolan, 2004. All rights reserved