“Story of the Century” is an interactive piece comprised of sculptural and video elements. A rear projection video projects onto the soft sculpture television from behind. In front a helmet sits on a chair for visitors to interact with and place on their heads. The helmet features speakers which connect to audio output of the video. Within the helmet is also a contact microphone, which senses the the presence of a person through vibrations. These movements trigger a program to take photographs of the viewer using a computer camera. These images are then saved into a file for storage. Behind the television are stacks of DVDs, labeled with the title, which contain copies of these documented photographs.
“Story of the Century” explores concepts of surveillance, drones, human rights, and complacency. The gallery viewer watches a fictional rendering of two caricature drones bombing and surveying various locations. The whimsy and puppetry of this broadcast film demonstrates the ease with which society trivializes surveillance and our technological footprint. While the viewer is wearing the helmet and watching the video, they are constantly being surveyed themselves through a contact microphone and computer camera which uses vibrations to snap photographs of the viewer. These candid photographs open a dialogue of human rights to privacy through audience participation.
Photo depicts video projecting past helmet on chair, showing a silhouette
of the piece on the wall behind the viewer.
Gallery visitor wearing the helmet, and sitting on the chair, watches video while
being surveyed by Processing program.
Video on the screen depicts crocheted drone puppets in front of a variety of
locations dropping missiles.
Photograph of contact microphone that goes inside of helmet to detect the
presence of a viewer while watching the video. Microphone is vibration
sensitive and runs a program when vibrations reach a specified input.
Contact microphone plugs into Processing program that registers vibrations
which set off a computer camera to take photographs and save them into a
Photograph demonstrates Processing program in use, showing live
footage of the program saving images to specified folder.
Processing program in “Preview Mode”. Photograph taken with screen capture.
Example of image saved using the Processing program as comparison to
screen capture above.
Demonstration of program to live audience.