Bypasser is a window-based intervention set in the context of a shopping centre or high street shopping area. The work links the movement of passers by to the motion of a moving panorama back-projected onto a shop window.
Normally when one travels, it is the traveller who moves whilst the background remains static. Bypasser inverts this relationship in an ironic manner by creating a situation where the background moves in synchronisation with the speed and direction of the walker.
In Bypasser the projection depicts a series of shop-fronts from the surrounding area that have been filmed as a tracking shot, i.e. a view of the shops whilst moving along a pavement/concourse, as a pedestrian might see when walking through the shopping centre. Concealed sensors on the outside of the shop detect the speed and direction of passers-by and send this information to control the speed and direction of the video playback.
The installation takes its inspiration from the moving panoramas of the nineteenth century used to document the new landscapes discovered by explorers of the British Empire and the American Frontier.
Most of the panoramas were portraits of vast territories, represented in linear sequence giving the viewer the impression of traveling over the landscape, often by boat or train. In length, moving panoramas typically reached a thousand or more feet and stood eight to twelve feet high. They were generally presented in successive sections framed by a proscenium, which concealed the rollers around which the panorama was wound. Usually, a lecturer stood by the picture as a tour guide, describing the peculiar features and the history of the scenery as it passed.
Movies for Manifest Destiny: The Moving Panorama Phenomenon in America K. J. Avery, Ph.D.
Bypasser references these moving panoramas and reinterprets them in a contemporary context. Instead of focusing on the vast territories, the work highlights the everyday terrain and pedestrian actions of consumers as they pass through a local shopping centre. The viewer is implicit in the motion of the background rather than passively watching a panorama controlled by a third party.
2010 Stone Squid Gallery, Hastings
2010 Chelmsford, Essex
Comissioned and supported by: Dance Digital, Oxford City Council, Stone Squid Gallery