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Passage Sets/One Pulls Pivots At The Tip Of The Tongue

"Passage Sets/One Pulls Pivots At The Tip Of The Tongue" (1994 - 1995) is an interactive installation by Bill Seaman, it was shown in the exhibition of DEAF95.

Passage Sets/One Pulls Pivots At The Tip Of The Tongue

© photo Jan Sprij 1995

A voyage along words, poems, video images and the countless associations they evoke. That is what Bill Seaman's installation Passage Sets is all about. Standing on a proscenium, facing three projection screens and using a mouse, the audience makes countless poetic reflections on, among other things, future sex and sensuality.

Seaman says: "The notion that a person in one part of the world can interact in a sensual/sexual manner with another person existing elsewhere, or with phantom identities engendered by the computer, is one area of reflection." To that effect, the artist uses images of a male and female participant and concepts that refer to emotions, sensuality and identity in cyberspace. The system also contains images derived from architectural photographs taken in Japan (Tokyo) and Germany (Karlsruhe) 'contrasting the past and the present and focussing on travel, motion and light', according to Seaman.

The installation also delves into navigation through different virtual spaces. "The viewer is in one space, looking at another space (as menu system), navigating a poetic linguistic space, which in turn triggers related associational video spaces."

The visitors have the most control over two screens where they can call up poems in still images, sounds and video images. Some of the words or short texts, compiled from collages of the Sydney skyline, can be zoomed into and, with a mouse click, give access to a poem. Moving the mouse changes the point of view. When the visitor selects one of the 150 pictures and puts it on the second screen, a voice reading the poem can be heard. The visitor is made to reflect on the text while looking at the video image. Thus, Seaman tries to refer to 'potential hybrid spaces engendered through interaction via computer networks'. Thirdly, apart from images and poems, the installation can produce music.

A third screen is for the 'Autonomous Poem Generator' which produces a new poem every four seconds on the basis of the text on the first screen. According to the artist, all the different spaces together generate "an open work and generates a floating/shifting mind space for the viewer. (...) Passage Sets," says Seaman, "poetically reflects on a potential future realm of sensual communication and exchange."

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