Thursday, June 25, 2009
"Night & Day" - Roman Hrab - 135 The Commons
Two sources of inspiration / information are the basis for Night & Day. Firstly the Internet, and this website. It is a link to a web cam located on Ithaca Commons, which takes a live shot every 15 seconds of a section of the Commons. It is owned and operated by a local graphic design firm. When I first came across this website, I found it raised many issues regarding the surveillance of the public realm via the web and social networking. The camera page also has a live Twitter feed as well as a link to a ‘best of” web cam photo page on Flickr.
Rather than appropriate images from this Flickr album, I collected images directly from the web cam until I came across a pair of stills that conveyed a sense of solitude and foreboding. One image was taken during the day, the other at night. From these images I made large-scale prints that were manipulated to resemble security camera shots. A final print, an aerial view of the Commons from Google Earth, serves as a pop cultural “You Are Here” marker for this psychogeographical mapping.
Secondly, the name of the store, Night & Day, instantly brings to mind the Cole Porter classic. The song has been recorded by countless artists, from Frank Sinatra to Billie Holiday and many others, and is best known as a song of longing and yearning, of unrequited love. But when taken out of its 1930’s musical context, the lyrics begin to seem a bit more sinister in intent when juxtaposed with the 21st century realm of the Internet, surveillance, web cams, and social networks.
An audio loop plays a recording of artists and musicians reciting, whispering, singing, and playing their own versions of Night and Day, with these issues in mind. Their voices are heard in the vestibule of the store, sometimes solo, sometimes paired in twos or grouped in disharmonic quartets or octets. Together with the images, the audio is an eerie reminder that there is always someone unseen watching the public realm, night and day.
The recordings are performed by:
Here is a mix of all performances. At the installation site, this mix and other versions play in random order on a continuous loop 8am-10pm.
Roman Hrab's website