Transit is an interactive video installation based on the NASA Kepler mission, the goal of which is to detect earth-like planets and gauge how common they are on a universal scale.
On March 7th, 2009, NASA launched the Kepler spacecraft containing a large camera sensor and telescope. The primary mission of Kepler is to observe a patch of stars in order to detect earth-like planets and thus extrapolate their frequency in the universe. Planets are detected by analyzing changes in stars brightness over time, thus indicating a transit (when a planet moves between a star and the camera’s fixed point of view).
In this piece, a screen displays an image of NASA scientists looking into one of the mirrors of Kepler’s telescope. A large globe shaped lamp hangs in front of a video camera atop the screen. The brightness of the lamp is used to partially mask out an area of the onscreen image, revealing another NASA photograph of a star cluster. When the viewer moves their body between the lamp and the camera, the mask is interrupted and the image of the mirror can be viewed. The viewer may also move the lamp, which moves the masked area of the image.
- Year Created: 2011
- Submitted to ArtBase: Monday Jun 13th, 2011
- Original Url: http://basmajian.net/work/transit/
- Chris Basmajian, primary creator
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My work explores the tensions between people, their image, and their self-image. I use processed real-time video of viewers as a basis for playful, humorous, and sometimes unsettling interactive experiences. Viewers stand before an electronic image and a video camera, forming an optical loop stirred by the curious gravity of narcissism. The video of each viewer is analyzed by software and manipulated, reordered, combined with text, or replaced by found images. As the viewer moves, the image is activated in ways that give pause for reflection. Onlookers witness a range of reactions, from self-conscious inhibition to exuberant abandon.