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Babel, 1993/1996

Anamorphic installation
Dimensions variable
Video projector, video recorder, videotape, mirrored cylinder


The installation displays a projection on the ground and anamorphic distorted video sequences. The video is composed of archive footage of TV reports on refugees in Rwanda and a picture of Brueghel's painting The Tower of Babel. The viewers might stand and walk in the distorted image area, perceiving the rectified image in the mirror cylinder, superimposed by their own distorted mirror image. The curved endless mirror forms its own space.

The installation gives the feeling that the images revolve around the cylinder. A continuous stream of people passes by the viewer, leaving the tower on one side and entering again on the other. One can circumvent the mirror but not step "behind" it. The installation stages sight in such a way that it can't escape the mirror.

icon camera Images

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Single Image
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icon video Video

Using electronic media Babel (1992), the work in progress Co-Verzerrung [co-distortion] (1993) or Fleckvieh und Kontinente [Fleckvieh and continents] (1994) (...) convey the medieval technique of anamorphosis with its perspective outside the image towards the moving video image, which is infinitely fragmented by the anamorphic distortion (...).

Whereas in this extreme case of the "soft-sweet central perspective" the viewer´s position was "deliberately excentric" in the classical painting (for example, Holbein), the image can now completely disintegrate and liquefy in virtual reality. The role of the viewer is explicitly redefined here. Only through his or her cognitive re-construction does the image become comprehensible as a result if image construction – and thus the process of seeing can be perceived as infinite.

Johanna Hofleitner, in: Ruth Schnell - Das Sehen rekonstruieren [Ruth Schnell - re-constructing vision]


Exhibitions:
1996, Jenseits von Kunst, Ludwig Museum, Budapest (HU)
1997, Jenseits von Kunst, Neue Galerie Johanneum, Graz (AT)
2004, Patterns of Perception, California Science Center, Los Angeles (US)