Time + Horizon
Art residency with MUFOCO in Sicily and exhibitions in Milan, Thessaloniki, Malaga and Lecce.
Time + Horizon was realized with designer and artist Federica Bardelli at Fondazione Orestiadi during an artist residency we attended together with other five international artists. The residency was titled Urban Layers: Identity Flows and focused on the theme of identity in the Mediterranean area, an area that has harvested a huge variety of cultures and influences over the years, and does so today — sadly also giving place to dramatic events.
In Time + Horizon we (mis)used webcams filming the Mediterranean coasts to compose a 20 meters long print recreating an ideal horizon of the whole Mediterranean coast spanning the 21 nations facing it. To produce the images we used footage from public webcams – which mainly came from tourist and meteo sites – and applied a technique called slit scan, that records successive instants of a moving image into a static image, effectively turning time into space. This technique permitted us to turn webcam footage into infinite horizons.
These are some of the images we extracted from the webcam footage with our custom software. In some of these stripes the passage of time is clearly visible with the sky turning dark during the sunset.
ASSEMBLING THE IMAGES
During the search for webcams we ventured in some obscure parts of the web, including some searches on the dark web. We were amazed and a bit creeped out to find a site giving access to a large number of private webcams, that didn't have a password by default and were therefore publicly visible. This episode highlights the increasing concerns about privacy in today's hyper-connected society.
ABOUT THE RESIDENCY
Urban Layers, New Paths in Photography is co-financed by the European Union and promoted by the University of Salento (Lecce) as Lead Partner and by the Institute of High Culture Orestiadi Foundation (Gibellina, Trapani), MUFOCO Museum of Contemporary Photography (Cinisello Balsamo, Milan), GACMA Arte Contemporanea (Málaga), Thessaloniki Museum of Photography (Thessaloniki), Institute of Mediterranean Cultures of the Province of Lecce with the collaboration of Association Positivo Diretto (Lecce).
Federica Bardelli and Alex Piacentini use the images recorded by the webcams coming from the Mediterranean coasts for their project. They recreate through these images a long horizon which moves clockwise, from Gibraltar to Morocco. The technique used to realize each individual image is the slit-scan, which makes simultaneously visible, side by side in the frame, the successive instants recorded by the webcam, thus converting time into space. The combination of all frames generates in this way a complete record which, after about an hour, reaches the starting point again, like a radar that periodically scans the horizon.
The work consists of two opposing and complementary dimensions. The aesthetic appeal of the individual images containing casual micro everyday stories which take place in the short scan time and the evidence of a monitoring and broadcasting mechanism, a kind of panopticon, constituted by the technological apparatus of the project, in which the logics of tourism and surveillance, of desire and fear, meet and overlap.
Matteo Balduzzi, Curator at MUFOCO