Yasushi Noguchi Projects Installations, Public Projects, Software, Photos etc.

Diverse and Universal Camera
Field Art 009

Installation View

Documentation Video (on Vimeo)

about Encyclopedia Cinematographica (Japanese)

OVERVIEW

“Diverse and Universal Camera” is a video installation that searches for footage from about 300 titles in Encyclopedia Cinematographica (EC) using keywords related to behaviors such as dancing, laughing, and spinning. The results will be displayed as a collage of footage on two screens that loop playback.
Because the combination of footage changes each time, it becomes possible to observe the connections and differences between various images that were filmed at different times and in different regions. It is a work that reinterprets and visualizes characteristics of EC as an encyclopedia, enabling both the serendipitous discoveries that a traditional paper encyclopedia facilitates and the spread of knowledge through modern Internet searches that emphasize the relevance of each article they search.
Considering many countries national exceptionalism and immigration debates, it could be said that a conservative and intolerant atmosphere has been spreading around the world in recent years. However, this is all the more reason for us to consider the fact that the behaviors of the living beings filmed by EC offer not only “diversity” but also “universality.”

THE BACKGROUND OF THE PROJECT

EC was produced in Germany over the course of about 40 years starting from 1952 as a project to create an encyclopedia of films. The objective of the project, which contains over 3,000 titles, is the comparative study of the behavior of creatures on Earth and movement in nature.
The first thing that I noticed from watching EC is how the world is full of diverse phenomena. For example, in the movements of the traditional ceremonial dances of different regions, such as the Balinese Hindu dance, one can observe unique characteristics.
In contrast, another aspect of the fun of EC is that viewers can find universal or shared features in diversity. For example, every creature does the action of “eating,” and humans and apes have the common behavior of “laughing.” Further, many organisms “turn around.”
In other words, it can be said that EC is a film encyclopedia that teaches us the “diversity” and “universality (or shared features)” of nature through various phenomena on Earth.
On the basis of this background, first, we selected tags that are related to the movements of humans and other organisms, then extracted scenes in which these movements or motions can be observed. Finally, I created a video installation that can compare footage on the basis of these tags. Participants can spontaneously observe and discover the connections and differences between various footage randomly selected by common tags in this environment.

WATCH, TRY, KEEP ON ASKING IN THE PRODUCTION PROCESS

In the production process, the Warashibe Research Team, consisting of about ten members who are mainly exhibition management staff, had discussions and decided on 40 tags. Then, these tags were used for tagging each scene in the footage.
Many tags were verbs such as playing, dancing, and hitting, selected from the viewpoint of crossing the fields of ethnology, biology, and technical science. However, subjective tags such as “this tool (this technique) is amazing!” and “fashionable” were also experimentally adopted.
For example, in the case of “hit,” if there is a scene in which someone is hitting something, and it lasts for 5 seconds, the time code is recorded on a form. There are many scenes in which “hitting” can be observed from various viewpoints of ethnology and biology, so tags were attached under moderate rules including the subjectivity of the staff.
Automatic tagging by artificial intelligence was technically not impossible, but, because the theme of the exhibition is “Watch, Try, Keep on Asking,” I thought that we could discover new meanings and values in EC by involving many people and tagging together as a starting point. Indeed, we believe that “watching” the footage comprehensively and “trying out tagging” became an opportunity for each participant to think deeply and to “keep on asking” the meaning of the acts in the footage.
The forms recording time codes were finally converted to a database for custom software and used for the installation.
 

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

System

Software: openFrameworks
Operating System: Mac OS X 10.14.4

Hardware

2 iMacs
2 Full HD Video Projectors

Space Requirements

at least W6m x D6m x H3m would be preferable.

Project Direction / Installation / Software Development

Yasushi Noguchi

Film Database of the Installation

EC Warashibe Research Team (Nabo Shimonaka, Tomoko Niwa, Kisara Nakaue, Yumi Takeda, Noriko Amano, Yuki Nakamura, Aiko Matsuda, Shieru Doi, Chihiro Nakata, Kazue Honma, Michiko Yoshioka, Misato Oka, Takuzo Seki, Takayuki Inoue), Yuzo Ishikawa

Acknowledgement

EC Film provided by EC Utilization Project of The Shimonaka Memorial Foundation, Setagaya Arts Foundation Lifestyle Design Center (Exhibition Management), Polepole-Higashinakano Co.

Documentation Video

Hideto Miyuki

Photography

Yuichiro Tanaka

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