"Transverser" (1998) is an interactive installation by Christian Kessler, based on the idea of chrono-photography.


Christian Kessler: Transverser

Transverser is an interactive computer installation. The installation is based on the principle of chrono photography: movements are recorded in such a way that their course in time becomes visible in space. The movement of the visitor in front of a camera is translated into a surprising video projection in which the body's movement becomes the condition for the legibility of the image. (Produced at the Kunsthochschule für Medien, Cologne) During Deaf Transverser is exhibited at Lantaren 2.


Text from Machine Times

The interactive computer-video installation Transverser acts as an apparatus rearranging the temporal and spatial structure of vision. It reflects the presence of the viewers by transforming their movements into a continuous stream of image and sound. As the visitor steps into the light rays marking the camera eye's range of vision, he leaves trails on the installation´s projection screen. The results are time-space distorted reflections of the viewers themselves, varying according to their movements in front of the installation: from an empty landscape, through regular camera and mirror images, to surreally morphed forms.

Transverser, or "Querläufer", is based on the principle of chrono-photography. Movements are recorded in a way that makes their course in time visible in space. Unlike in classical, photo-mechanic chrono-photography, Transverser uses a video camera and a computer to generate the image of time, therefore the development of the images can be followed in real time. The images recorded by a stationary camera pointing towards the visitors are continuously fed into the computer and processed; a strip of time becomes visible, ever growing and stretching across the projection screen.

A slide projector focused to a narrow, tall line of light from the direction of the camera provides the lighting. It also marks the position of the viewers in the installation, as they have to stand in the slice of space lighted up by the source in order to affect the resulting image. In addition, each movement in the light causes sounds played by a connected Midi device.

The stripe of time constantly rebuilds from left to right; each frozen moment stays visible for half a minute until it is overlaid by the next time sequence. Depending on how the visitors react, differently distorted images emerge. In the absence of a movement in the line of light only a indistinct horizontally striped background can be seen. Movements in direction of the rebuilding time stripe appear like a camera image, whereas movements against the direction are presented like a mirror image. Movements faster than the speedof the image scan effect a contraction of the image, while slower movements lead to horizontally expanded projections of objects, bodies and body parts that appear in the slice of light. These and other surprising effects can be explored by the visitor in a play with space and time.

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