2004 Rockefeller New Media Foundation Proposal

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I will create two interactive narrative video works comprised of large projections that react to and interact with viewers. Each work presents a silhouette narrative of a prominent Christian Scientist. The first work concerns the events surrounding Mary Baker Eddy's discovering and founding Christian Science in the 1860s. The second presents moments in the life of the American surrealist and Christian Science practitioner Joseph Cornell between 1930 and 1950. The Christian Science faith is best known for it's belief in the power of the mind, and the mind's ability to heal the body of illness - a belief that echoes the ideas of interdependence, emergence and emptiness, that inform my work. Both pieces will be synthetically constructed narratives. The projected imagery will be silhouette performances in the tradition of 19th century magic lantern and shadow theatre. These performances, however, will be algorithmically generated, so that their specific actions and movements are always slightly different. These movements will be rooted in live recordings made on a soundstage and in animations, but will primarily exist as computer models. Viewers will interact with a work when they walk between a projector and a projection on the screen. Viewers' own shadows will instantly become an integral part of the projected scene. They will feel an immediate sense of presence at a phenomenal level, through the reaction of snow, rain, and scenery to their shadows. Their movements and actions will also have a narrative effect, advancing each work from scene-to-scene in ways that reflect viewers' physical behavior.
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