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Michael Naimark, Artist and Media Researcher, SF

(Re)Presenting Place




April 29, 2002; 6 Minutes; Video

Much of the history of representation has concentrated on conveying sense of place. One prominent historical strand is from murals and landscape painting, to panoramas and cycloramas, to wide-screen and 3D cinema. Another strand is from travel writing, to telegraph and radio, to telephone and television. These two strands are converging around the technologies of immersive "virtual reality" and the Internet. With our increasing understanding of psychophysics and cognition, many believe that the dictum "just like being there" may finally be fulfilled. But place runs deep: we "know" we are "here." This knowledge is cultural and political as well as technical and perceptual. It's also deeply personal. Placing cameras everywhere and building 3D computer models have their implications, and it's no surprise that technological enthusiasts and social critics hold differing (and often uninformed) perspectives. The arts community can play an important role both as bridge-builder and provocateur.

Naimark will present his past and current projects in this context. He has "movie mapped" Aspen from the street, Paris from the sidewalk, San Francisco from the air, Karlsruhe from the rail, and Banff from hiking trails, and has filmed panoramic experiments in Jerusalem, Dubrovnik, Angkor, and Timbuktu. He is currently working with webcams and the Internet.