Urban Episodes
Steina, 1980, 9'08''

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'Machine Vision' is a series of installations created by Steina Vasulka that signify the awareness of an intelligent, yet non-human vision. Where ordinarily the viewpoint of the camera is associated with recreating human perspective, Steina's vision machines use rotating platforms, mirrors, prisms and cameras to redefine ideas of space while transcending restrictions of human vision. The works do not require the use of video tape, but rather use real-time space surveillance and can be performed in a studio, outdoors or in the context of an exhibition. In 'Urban Epispodes', Steina set up a Machine Vision device outdoors in a public plaza in downtown Mineappolis. With a rotating camera that could 'see' using mirrors and prisms and an exaggerated fish eye lens, his device was pre-programmed to scan the city plaza with pan, zoom, tilt and rotation movements. The effect is an abstract interpretation of a familiar urban landscape, free from restraints of gravity and human perception. Steina's intention was to generate images rigorously specific to video, that could not be produced without the machine and therefore understood as being representative of a vision proper to the medium. She explains: "The act of seeing, the image source and the kinetic resources come from the installation itself, choreographed and programmed by the cyclical nature of its mechanized performance."
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  • Date: 1980
  • Length: 9'08''
  • Type: Video
  • Copyrights: All rights reserved (c) LIMA
  • Keywords: installation - kinetic installation, perception, video (subject), electronics, architecture, movement, urban space