Electronic Shadow

Ex-îles, 2009

Ex-îles is an interactive installation involving the notion of linkage, an immaterial and imaginary link which redefines the concept of territory by putting forward a vision which goes beyond geographical and political boundaries. On either side of a basin measuring 4.8 x 2 metres, filled with water to a height of 20 cm, two islands are defined by two strictly centred video projectors, each one set above one-half of the basin. The two images thus juxtaposed on the floor represent, in the first case, the physical presence in the territory, and for the other, the elsewhere, the imaginary and the virtual. By making their way into the circle of light situated on the edge of the basin, whose bottom is fitted with a sensor linked to a computer, visitors act on the work and activate it. The work is projected between the two sides by way of a silhouette, an image which swims from one end to the other, leaving behind it a line, like a mark of its passage. At the same time, virtual connections from the Electronic Shadow website trigger other lines which take form through a point of light in the opposite direction. Like an overlapping of a physical reality with a digital reality, the water contained in this basin is a part of a hybrid territory, the collective memory of a trace-less ensemble endlessly changing within a 25th time zone (this zone which, according to Mestaoui and Aït Kaci, joins the other 24 zones together). Ex-îles is a hybrid arrangement divided between real and virtual, where the visitor/spectator/actor—it is up to the desire and readiness of everyone to want to “enter” into the work or just skim over it—strolls, moves about, and to be connected in the exhibition or in his own home. He is a “source code” of a network thus created (Christophe Le Gac). The undulating traces left by all these interconnections can be read in real time in the animated image projected on the vertical wall opposite the basin.

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