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Be Now Here (Welcome To The Neighborhood)

"Be Now Here (Welcome To The Neighborhood)" (1995) is an immersive installation by Michael Naimark allowing to visit public plazas on the UNESCO World Heritage Centre's list of endangered places.

Be Now Here (Welcome To The Neighborhood)

Michael Naimark: Be Now Here; photo: Jan Sprij

Be Now Here is an installation about landscape and public places. Visitors gain a strong sense of place by wearing 3-D glasses and stepping into an immersive virtual environment. The imagery is of public plazas on the UNESCO World Heritage Centre's list of endangered places - Jerusalem, Dubrovnik, Timbuktu, and Angkor, Cambodia - places both exotic and disturbing. The style is ambient, as if the imagery is live.

For production, a unique recording system was built consisting of two 35mm motion-picture cameras (for 3D, one for each eye) mounted on a rotating tripod. The installation consists of an input pedestal for interactively choosing place and time, a stereoscopic projection screen, four-channel audio, and a 16-foot rotating floor on which the viewers stand.

Be Now Here is an extension of several media trajectories. One is of enhanced cinematic representation, such as the IMAXsized projections of the Lumiere brothers in 1900 and the 3-screen triptychs of Abel Gance's Napoleon in 1927. Another is of non-narrative cultural activism, such as the films of Godfrey Reggio and Tony Gatlif. But Be Now Here also points forward: as a simulation of what net.cinema can be, it is both a regard and a provocation.

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