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La Navaja en el Ojo

Bienal de Valencia, 2001

In August 2001, we collaborated with the renowned Catalan theatrical group "La Fura dels Baus" in a sixty minute spectacle for the Biannual of Art and Fashion in Valencia, Spain entitled "La Navaja en el Ojo" (Knife in the eye). We contributed several real-time digital projections which interacted with the actors. Also, we created a graffiti board which let audience members send messages from their cell phones.

 

The Scene



Santiago Calatrava's "Hemisferic" which serves as the planetarium and IMAX theatre at the Valencia Museum of Science. The glass door is visible in its retracted position revealing the dome inside.
 

Sand



A stream of liquid sand flows from the top of the dome. Actors wearing climbing harnesses descend from the dome's apex while the virtual sand flows around them. The actors form configurations where the sand piles up above them.
[Download video mpeg 1.3 MB]
 

Fire



Actors, running across the dome on harnesses, alternately burn with a real-time fluid fire simulator.
[Download video mpeg 0.9 MB]
 

Puppet Eye



An twenty-four meter wide eye is projected onto the dome. The eye is puppeteered using the mouse, keyboard, and joystick to control movement, blink, and iris dilation. Because the eye is controlled in real-time, it moves and reacts instantly to the actors and theater around it creating a life-like effect.
 

Video in Iris



The eye had live video placed into the iris which moved with the eye and dilated as before. This was used in several sequences where the eye looked at someone in the audience and, in so doing, took on their image.
 

SMS Graffiti



The audience was invited to send text messages using the Short Message Service (SMS) of their cell phones. Over 300 people sent messages and a large majority of the 10,000+ audience stayed on to watch the messages scroll by for over an hour after the show was over. Messages ranged from personal statements such as "Ana, I love you" to political messages such as the one shown here: "Rita [Mayor of Valencia] is a drunkard".

An interesting thing happened with this installation.  The day after the show, someone in the government of Valencia (who was paying the bills for the show) called wanting a log of the phone numbers of who sent the unflattering messages!  I refused and lied by telling them that it wasn't logged.  For future reference to others who wish to repeat this experiment, DO NOT store a log of the incoming phone numbers!
 

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