Three television cameras record and transmit the contents of the gallery to a matrix of 15 television monitors arranged in the face of a tetrahedron. A switching device changes images every 12 seconds. One monitor is mounted at the apex, two monitors are mounted on the second row, and so on to the last row of five monitors. One of the three television cameras picks up the viewer and feeds his “live” real-time image to the single apex monitor. The image is delayed three seconds and then replayed on the second row. It is then delayed an additional three seconds (now a total of six seconds) and replayed on the third row. This cascade process continues until the last, or fifth row, displays the original image twelve seconds after its appearance on the top monitor. When the cycle
is complete,these images (from the three alternating cameras) generate 36 variations in time and space. All 15 monitors feed back their contents simultaneously. [“New Learning Spaces and Places,” Design Quarterly 90/91. Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.] Frank Gillette
This quotation from artist Frank Gillette succinctly states the technical achievement of this work, which I saw installed at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. Gillette's tetrahedron of monitors displays the instantaneous recording of activity in front of the monitors through a complex delay of playback. The viewer's experience with this work is the initial realization that he is “on television” and being recorded. The display of monitors makes it clear that we are seeing individual TV sets. As the viewer becomes more involved in the piece, the spatial and temporal displacement reveals a more complex scenario of experience to him. The display of the monitors is totemlike in its acknowledgment of the medium's iconographic significance, as the video camera's eye is made to read the room and the content of its recording is played back to that room. The viewer's attention scans the continously changing image/message, causing him to reflect upon himself within a specific space. Rather than being a scientific or transcendental experience Track/Trace makes the viewer aware of his physical size and proportions in relation to the distance from the camera and within the television's frame.
Gillette's installation is “live” television, which displays the unique multi-image reading of a place and situation. It is a Track/Trace, a video time/space work by Frank Gillette. definite extension of the video experience. The movement of the moving image from screen to screen displaces the im. portance of the single image while affirming the need to look at the monitors both singly and collectively. The space in front of the Gillette piece is activated by the video-camera dissection and playback of the space, while in the television environment of the home the TV set's passive image is interacted with as a surface message. Track/Trace opens up the monitor and the medium.)
John Hanhardt / 1976