Public Space: Concept Toughts

Shot N° 10204
Don’t Look Back

Hey Fellow Students,

So, an overview of my ideas an toughts about our course on Public Space and what to do with the Hasselt Central Station.

Research Run 01
Me and a buddy (Olmo – Just finished his master C-MD last year – so he’s the ideal companion) took a field trip to Hasselt to take a closer look at my work area.  Pictures where later printed in my personal notebook.
Observation one: it’s quite a challenge to build something for a neighbourhood that will only be constructed in five years. Right now most of it ist just an idea or a large building pit.
(The half-underground parking, however, is quite far along it’s construction).
Observation two: altough our project is supposed to be about the station neighbourhood - there’s not much of the station to be seen outside the station building. The rails and other infrastructure are hidden behind it, and, unlike the Central Station of Antwerp,the does not have enough style or history behind it to infuse the neighbourhood with it’s character.

Shot from my little Sony Camera

Research Run 02
With this information to think about – a brainstorm began. During the following weeks, i tried to capture and jot down as much of my personal toughts as possible. I also went on a short late-night photo trip to the previously mentioned Central Station of Antwerp, and wandered around looking for inspiration. Most of it went down in my notebook. The main idea i got was still the previous one – how to bring the character from the trainstation out to the street.

Olmo and me looked at some other work in public space – the most interesting one in this context was the Troika Cloud.

As soon as people hear this sound, they feel like they’re allready traveling

It’s a digital sculpture installed in Heathrow Airport, London. The thing I like is that it frames the old display technology that was used in airports before leds ruled the planet in a new context – simultaneously creating an artwork and setting a recognizable travel atmosphere in a new unexpected way.

The Concept
While thinking about about a way to express the nature of a train station (think about things like movement of people on the platform, trains arriving and leaving and the time when this all happens) we first arrived at the idea of a sound installation transmitting sounds from a train line to the street in front of the station. When a train arrived, that specific sound effect would be reflected to the other side.

When thinking more about the specifics of a train station (linear movement of trains, circular movement of time) we suddenly ended up with the idea of a Slitscan. Our Slitscan was created in the Processing language – and basically takes one vertical line of pixels from a webcam image, places them next to the series of previous vertical lines – when it reaches the end of the screen, it start over from the beginning (of the screen). This creates very abstract images. Jeremy Wood (we saw his GPS Drawings in this course)  also used this technique in his Pentagram work. Kubrick also used it in his movie 2001: a Space Oddysee.

When nothing passes along the camera – the screen displays a series of stretched color lines.

When a person passes (or most importantly – a train) it gets drawn on the screen.

So this is the basic idea: the screen (= station) is an abstract images (= has no meaning) until a train arrives (= the reason for a train station to exist) and an image gets drawn on the screen. I want this image projected on the streetside of the Central Station. Thereby expressing the specific character of the trainstation to the outside world.

Research Run 03
I hope the general idea got across in the previous paragraphs. The last factor in this story was an actual early test. It was made yesterday – you can check it out below – don’t forget to watch it full screen for the best effect, give yourself some time to get used to the flow of these images. Also – don’t forget to read up on what Olmo has to say about this if it intrests you.
Don’t forget to leave comments, they’re appreciated.

Planned Improvements
Make the image flow right – instead of the line we have now – it’s a more logical way for the image to update & find a way to also transport the sound outside, improving recognition of the abstract images .


2 Responses to “Public Space: Concept Toughts”

  1. Cameron Says:

    I like your idea, looking forward to following your progress.
    You should check out the video works of Daniel Crooks, he does some similar work which you may find interesting.

  2. Field Commander Jim » Blog Archive » Public Space: Concept Updates Says:

    [...] Further Concept Toughts On one level, it’s a way to radiate the character of the train station to the outside of the building. In this way, we establish a true train station neighbourhood” that was not present before. I already outlined this idea in my previous post. [...]

Leave a Reply