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Description

In the Line of Sight uses 100 computer-controlled tactical flashlights to project low-resolution video footage of suspicious human motion. Each flashlight shines a light spot on the wall. All flashlights combined create a ten by ten matrix representation of the source footage, featured on a video monitor in an adjacent part of the gallery.

The flashlight matrix projects images that are difficult to decipher, deliberately vague, making the audience wonder what exactly the person is doing. The projections reference the elusiveness of visual representation in the context of tactical images, surveillance images, and viral media. Pictures taken by law enforcement and national intelligence under difficult circumstances, for example at night, from a distance, at low resolution, in passing, are constantly subject to analysis, debate, and scrutiny. Misinterpretations can lead to severe consequences. The work is strongly influenced by a technologically determined discourse on a range of security issues, including deciphering human motion at virtual border fences, or determining suspicious behavior based on helical motion signatures in human gait.

Connected through a strand of 100 BNC cables, a heavy-duty control box serves as the pedestal for a video monitor, featuring a professional dancer in an ongoing sequence of human motion studies, culled from a movie database. The performer deliberately interrogates the relationship between suspicious and asymmetrical movement patterns, analyzed in real-time by computer vision software. Significant features and body movements are visually highlighted with markers.

Smith & Wesson, the brand of the flashlights chosen for this installation, is best known for its product line of firearms. Conceptually, this fact references the violent dimension of light, from searchlights in WW2 to tracer ammunition and propaganda architectures made of light. By walking between the light source and the projected images, the role of the visitors changes from observer to subject – with 100 flashlights pointed at them. Looking at the flashlights directly, the visitors perceive the inherent power and dynamics of the exploded images, continuously moving in wavelike patterns across the five meter wide flashlight sculpture.

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