mariano sardón

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X - Y = 0 is a project in which people in a public place in Los Angeles (USA) interact with others in a public space in Buenos Aires (Argentina) by means of comings and goings in their everyday activities.
People's movement is captured by a tracking system with a video camera (computer vision) set in each location. Their position coordinates are transmitted from one city to the other via the Internet reciprocally and simultaneously.
People's geometrical trajectories of movements are transformed into paths of characters and words. The letters and words mimicking the people's trajectories are projected onto walls of the buildings of both locations. WEB texts are retrieved from HTML codes according to the words triggered by persons' movement and projected on the very same walls.
X - Y = 0 creates an immersive environment in both cities in which people are aware of their distant counterparts through their juxtaposition of character paths projected on the walls around them.
The first implementation of this installation was designed for Los Angeles at the Young Research Library at University of California at Los Angeles, USA, and Buenos Aires at the National Library, Argentina.


The work attempts to cross out the defined border between the artwork as a defined object and persons who experience it. It is a connection between spaces and moments in two distant cities in which people are part of the work itself; just like the argentine artist Alberto Greco pointed out objects and persons in a certain situation or space relation in a labile and specific instant on streets in everyday situations and defining them as an art work. The Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges enumerates in his poem "Las Causas" a long number of "events" along human history. A long filigree of happenings connected by invented causalities in space and time. Existing digital technologies offer the possibility to materialize the connection of events in time or space relationships between persons through different cities in the world. Both the events in Borges' poem and Greco's person-positions on the streets can be transformed into numbers and handled by successive interfaces. Presented in public spaces is the result of a long concatenation of processes whose final realization is the text dynamic generated by people's movement and projected on buildings in both cities.


The installation establishes a number of relationships between peoples' movement, a text stored in a computers' memory, public spaces and text contents retrieved from World Wide Web pages.
People's movement is captured by a tracking system with a video camera (computer vision) set in each location. Their position coordinates are transmitted from one city to the other via the Internet reciprocally and simultaneously.
The letters representing individuals' paths are dynamically etched from text stored in a computer's memory and projected. The red paths are generated by the peoples' movement around the building in the distant city and the blue ones are triggered by persons in the local place.
The same happens in both locations.
Words appear at points of intersection between the paths of characters (yellow words). Words belong to a text stored in a computer's memory in both languages, English and Spanish.
Path intersections are not in the real physical sense since both spaces are in different cities, people don't cross their paths in real places. Actually, it is the numerical representation of body positions that are equals in both places. It is a virtual intersection.

detailed version .Pdf (1.5 Mb)

Yellow words that appeared at points of intersection are put into a database. A few of them are passed to a parser program. These words are labeled in white color. They become keywords in searches of the entire World Wide Web. Then excerpts of content in which those words appear are immediately returned and projected on the very same walls. An example of the texts retrieved and projected are shown below.

This process is repeated with a new set of words taken from the database continuously.
The WEB is conceived as a huge textual memory which is evoked by words time and time again.


Data collection technologies, which allow measurements of the physical environment, and can sense our routine movements and interactions with our physical surroundings, give us the diversity and variety of data mapping of our daily lives; revealing dynamic stay and structures.
Our personal activities, our comings and goings, leave behind complex traces: movement that is a source of rhythms and patterns for developing them like perception phenomena. Digital technologies can be used as a tool for approaching those dynamics.
People are embedded in a long chain of processes allowed by digital technology configuring a "system" of relationships concerning sensors, computing languages and network communication protocols, in which persons take part in changing its state. In this sense, the installation takes people in everyday public places and activities as "performers".
Texts are altered and created by a common construction achieved with other distant ones who use the system as medium.
The resulting projected movement patterns can be seen as an illustration of the tensions between the people's flow constrained by the buildings and the flow altered by the play proposed by the artwork. This is the fundamental source of the unforeseeable dynamics of texts in both cities.
People do not have complete control on the texts triggered locally because the remote counterparts interact simultaneously. Their reading and perception depends on the others.
Words triggered at crossing paths develop the text stored into the computer's memory in a non-linear form. The text plot stored into the computers' memory as well as the "system" conformed by the installation, are hidden. Action (walking, movement) determines (or seeks in vain for) the plot, which if found does not produce anything, only (barely) closure.