For the exhibition V+W_Design Matrix at the shiny new MARTa Museum of Modern Art in Herford, Germany, celebrated design duo Vogt & Weizenegger sought a way of presenting their vast video archives to the public without being too sober. In a few quick one-on-one rounds of napkin sketches with Oliver & Hermann we came up with the video billard concept: One large table to play a special kind of pool billard on. Giving the user both effortless data mining powers as well as a confusing variety of unexpected interactions (both with man + machine), the Memory Room billard table is a conversation piece that brings it own conversations with it.
Design Matrix is the first big solo show for Vogt & Weizenegger, showcasing most of their previous works upon the invitiation of former documenta curator Jan Hoet, now director of this spectacular Gehry-built “Museum/Zentrum/Forum”.
Among the piles of artifacts to be exhibited were 300+ hours of videotape, gathered by manic cameraman Oliver Vogt – a charming melange of home video, professional works, and project documentation. In their native DV format, a total of 3 terabytes of data. Obviously, no one would want to show these in a traditional screening.
The Memory Room Billard works by layers of analogies: Some of the balls represent objects in virtual space, some are modifiers for filters, others trigger special effects. Once you know the rules, you can actually deliver quite well-controlled video compositions. However, it doesn’t hurt if you don’t care. The output will still be entertaining.
Tracking of the billard balls is done via an overhead camera, so to avoid visual confusion and to add a dash of style, players are invited to wear black gloves with their black cues.
White ball is the camera.
Blue, Red and Yellow are video windows.
move these balls and your composition will change. zoom in by approaching the white to one of the others.
Pink is the audio ball. Like an ear held to a tv, it defines the mix of sounds you get from the three concurrent video streams by its position within their triangle.
Turqoise triggers effects and filters. Place it either on the hexagons to trigger a selection of visual effects, or put it on the ‘brain schematic’ to filter your selection of clips to a specific subject.
Green is the timeline / a-z control. Roll it along the length of the table to choose the year of your selection. Move it across the shorter length to go from a-z among the clips of one year. Dump it in the hole to clear the filter and yield any random pick of videos instead.
The so called “Berliner Nacht” was the opening event. Rounded off by some VJing of the developers themselves,
Thomas Hitthaler (a.k.a. AMPOP) and David Dessens (a.k.a. SANCH).
The MESO team
Max Wolf, Sebastian Oschatz, Thomas Hitthaler, Marc Sandner, David Dessens, Tobias Teickner