Ben Houge, Transportation Is Getting a New Look

Transportation Is Getting a New Look from Ben Houge on Vimeo.

Transportation Is Getting a New Look is a one channel, real-time, generative video, created in Jitter during the spring of 2010 in Shanghai. The original pixel resolution was 960 x 545, but it can be adapted for various contexts. The video may be shown on a screen or projected, in varying dimensions, and multiple instances of the video may be shown together.

It was first exhibited as part of the “Re-Visioning History” show at OV Gallery, May 22-August 15, 2010. The point of departure for this video was a city wall covered in posters; old posters are torn down or fade away, covered up by new posters, creating an evolving public collage, reflecting the way history is written. The source material for the video is a Chinese propaganda poster from the 70's entitled "Safeguard the Orderliness of the Revolution: Transportation Is Getting a New Look 革命秩序维护好,交通战线换新貌," which is chopped up and reassembled by my Jitter patch.

The show was temporarily shut down by the Shanghai Cultural Bureau, and a print from this video was confiscated. Read more about the incident and background of the piece on my blog.

The piece is appropriate for a variety of settings and formats. The work’s generative, real-time nature is particularly well-suited to being installed to run continuously in a public place (museum, bar, gallery, park), where viewers are free to come and go and watch for as long as they want. It may be incorporated into a live performance (VJ, collaborative, or otherwise), and a rendered excerpt may be screened as a short video.

A soundtrack of light traffic was added for the online version; the piece was originally exhibited as a silent video work.

To see some stills from the video, check out this Flickr set. Limited edition, high resolution prints (52 cm x 29.3 cm) on archival paper are available for purchase from OV Gallery. Editions of the video are also available.