Sanguine. Crowd colorations

Filed under: installation, 2014
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El empleo de cañones de agua pigmentada contra los participantes en una manifestación es una técnica policial cada vez más extendida, que además de disolver al grupo, busca marcar a los individuos para su posterior identificación. Es una forma primitiva de las técnicas de rastreo digital, como las que han salido a la luz paralelamente a las movilizaciones masivas de la ciudadanía en estos últimos años.

La instalación arranca de esta doble naturaleza de lo digital: junto a unas imágenes de cañones de color contra los manifestantes, un proyector vertical ilumina una fotografía aérea de una concentración. Sobre ella, fragmentos de pétalos de color son colocados cubriendo el área ocupado por las personas. A partir del mapeado de los pétalos, su color es desaturado de forma oscilante por efecto de la luz del proyector. Una sombra elíptica en movimiento, finalmente, es proyectada sobre la multitud.

The use of colored water cannons against participants in a demonstration is an old police force technique increasingly widespread. Apart from dissolving the group, it aims to tag the individuals for subsequent identification. It is a primitive form of current digital tracking technologies, as the ones that have come to light parallel to the massive demonstrations of citizenship all around the world these last years.

The installation stems from this double nature of the digital: on the one hand, it helps collectivities to emerge; but on the other, it has an unusual power to track the individuals. Next to an image of a colored water cannon against groups of people, a vertical projection lightens an aerial photograph of a demonstration. Over it, a layer of fragments of colored petals cover the area occupied by the people in the picture. Their color, due to the projected light, is oscillatingly being desaturated. A hovering elliptical shadow, finally, is projected over the crowd.

The installation may consist of one or several projectors, depending on the space and the technical means. Each projector transforms the image of a demonstration in a different city, with layers of petals of a different color in each case.

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A photograph lays on a table. It is lightened by a projector heading downwards. When we get closer, we distinguish a coloured layer of glowng petals. At the installation, we realize that the image shows a crowded Taksim Square in Istanbul during the massive demonstrations last year. Bits of coloured petals placed over the citizens, however, appear as a glowing plasma spread on the Square, which reveals also a disc-shaped shadow hovering the coloured crowd. The projector, with the aid of a computer, maps the petals over the image and, while making them glow, fictionally introduces the surveillance-like moving shadow.

A second image is placed close to the table. It displays a set of photographs were groups of people are dispersed with the aid of water cannons, being the liquids used remarkably coloured. Dyed water is employed to tag people, as a primitive monitoring technique, a material analog of the invisible digital surveillance networks.

Once demonstrations are over, even with no blood spilled, streets remain covered with coloured fluids, revealing the clash between different networked collectivities. In the digital era, of crowd and collective phenomena, are these analogs to blood spills, unveiling an ubiquitous violent and surveillance state of coexistence?