The Tables Turned is experienced and used in two locations via a teleconferencing link, in much the same as my previous installation Telematic Vision. A table and a chair exist in two separate locations. A camera is located above each table at a 45° oblique view to the table. The first table is located on the first floor of the ZKM Medienmuseum Salon Digital, surrounded by four monitors. The second table site is situated in a remote location, also surrounded by four monitors - apart from the colour of the space it is identical to the first. Everything in the second site, except for the chair, is chroma-key blue - a blue box backdrop, carpet and table. i.e. only the chair and the person sitting on it are visible to a chroma-keyer, the blue area of the screen is replaced with the camera image from the ZKM location - an identical mapped image of a backdrop, carpet, table, chair, and another person. The combined image of the two distant users sitting at the same virtual table is displayed on the monitors in both locations, allowing the users to observer and control their telepresent bodies within 360° around the virtual table.
The video flow and
teleconferencing link works as follows. The video camera in the ZKM location
outputs two identical images, one is fed directly to a local chroma-keyer,
and the other is fed, via 3 x 64k ISDN telephone lines and teleconferencing
link, to a second chroma-keyer in the remote location. The video camera
in the remote location also outputs two identical images, one is fed directly
to its local chroma-keyer, and the other is fed via the ISDN lines to the
first chroma-keyer in the ZKM location. The two chroma-keyers now have
exactly the same image inputs, each system simultaneously chroma-keys the
camera image form the remote location as the key-image on top of the camera
image from the ZKM location as the fill-image. The final chroma-keyed images
are then feed to each set of four monitors independently from the chroma-keyers
in both locations.
Eight draws around the edge of each table top can be opened by the user. Each table top can also be rotated by the user. These draws will contain objects and props that have corresponding links between them that determine the potential narratives and dialogues that can unfold between the two persons sat at the table.
The Tables Turned takes its title from a poem by William Wordsworth of almost the same name. The original poem accuses the science and art of the time of being nothing more than an outrageous imitation. The real truth and reality being found in a return to nature. So what is nature ? and what is real in the telematic space ? With the help of Timothy Druckrey this installation contains adapted verses from Wordsworth's poem on the bottom of each draw around the table tops. Verses that provoke the very question of reality from a rather ironic telematic point of view.