Category : GENERAL
By Witaya Junma (Thailand)
As an artist, I am enthusiastic about applying fresh approaches to my art and also have explored various branches of science in creating my work. Technology and machinery have thus become a significant part of my art. To me, they are products of the observation or imitation of nature. In other words, they are replicas of living things, and their creator is us, humans. The main role of technology and the machine is to make our lives easier, however, if we offer them a place in the art world and give them different roles, from telling stories to amplifying expressions, I believe we can create new art forms. And if we use them wisely, technology and machines can help convey the artist’s objectives more effectively than conventional.
Life/Time is an Interactive Installation which creates a moving image based on the persistence of vision technique on drinking glasses. It is designed for participators to interact with the glasses by dipping their fingers into water and touch the rim of the glasses. The glasses will start moving and creating sounds if pressed and held. As the light shines through the moving glasses, the still images on the glasses will start to appear as one moving image and come to life. Each glass is different in size, shape and sound. The participant can choose to change the glasses and explore the various stories in each one.
I am fascinated by the relationship between light and perception. Through a good amount of research, I have discovered an interesting motion picture technique. What inspires me are the stories depicted on an everyday object of our cultural interest such as a drinking glass. I have a tremendous desire to capture the life, every gesture and motivation of each glass’s user at a specific time period. My observation suggests that in some cases, a drinking glass can represent a connection with the spiritual beliefs and by worshiping these spirits, their desires such as success, affluence and good fortune will be met. The most captivating part in all of this is that our Thai culture still embraces this concept despite our modern lifestyle by which those gestures have long gone.
I documented the stories by drawing them up in digital file and use animation loop to create 20 frames per second. I then transferred these frames onto a transparent material and adhered it on the glasses’ surface. I let light through each glass to test the silhouette. Once the silhouette is precise, I used laser to engrave these frames on the real glasses. The rotating plate is designed to adhere to the glasses and the interactive part is achieved with Arduino codes. When wet finger is pressed on the glass rim, the pressure triggers the sensor and the motor spins the glass. If the finger stays pressed on the rim, the sound will be produced and the light will flash 20 times per second, coinciding with the 20 frames on the glass. As motion picture on film strips, this is achievable on drinking glasses. The motion continues as long as there is sufficient pressure on the glass rim. Once the pressure is removed, everything stops.
The components are a zoetrope, glass harp, and shadow pictures. They may not be the latest technologies, but this work gives us a glimpse of another possibility which has branched out in the process of technology evolution. I believe this work can now be called steampunk. Furthermore, it is based on the local, everyday context that was discovered by the artist himself. That craft and image are skillfully woven into a story.
At a glance, the situation where it appears that light strikes an ordinary tool that everyone has held, a glass cup, suggests that all around us is, actually, constantly full of small discoveries. I hope that this small awareness will become a branch that opens up new possibilities and continues to spread out.