Metastasis

YEAR.2012

AREA.20 SQM

TYPE.Public

LOCATION. Sydney, Australia

Metastasis is an interactive light installation discussing the conflict between personal indulgence and social responsibility utilising the environmental impact of energy consumption as a conceptual vehicle to express such dichotomy.

The installation is conceived as a dark room inhabited by a parasitical organism embedded into the gallery building. The parasite takes the shape of three squared cauldrons of light energy lined up like glowing windows across one of the walls of the room. The cauldrons do nothing and although some movement can be softly perceived at their surface, it has ultimately no coherence or follows any pattern.
As the cauldrons release their energy, a pattern of growing light cells emerge off them and onto the room walls in the form of projected animation, crawling through the surfaces as if wishing to take the entire room over. Those are waste cells units of bad social habits spreading around uncontrollably like cancer and fed by the audiences inaction. The extension of their spread is proportional to the cauldrons current energy consumption. If consumption increases, the replicating cells spread further; if it gets reduced, the cancer of waste recedes back to the cauldrons. Likewise, when it spreads further enough to reach the spotlights, those get turned on, one by one, illustrating their contamination by light; when the waste cells recede back, wasteful consumption is being tamed and the spotlights go off. When the cauldrons are functioning at full glow the whole room is therefore covered by the intricate, delicately beautiful tissue of light cells and all the spotlights are on, projecting colourful dots around the room. Beauty and aesthetic pleasure born out of sheer waste of resources.
It takes human effort and participation to heal this social cancer and control the spread of wasteful consumption and strike a healthy balance between pleasure and guilty, comfort and self-imposed deprivation, physical/emotional indulgence and ethically oriented behaviour. Such conflicts are represented by the mechanisms of interaction between audience and artwork. When individuals step into the room, their shadows are caste over the cauldrons. Their projected silhouette, being dark, turns screen pixels off and, in consequence, brings the level of consumption down. That, in turn, causes the previously expanding waste cells to recede back to their sources, making the room grow less and less lit until eventually it ends up in almost total darkness. By engaging with the installation, the audience therefore also contributes to its demise. Just like natural resources, its utilisation and the indulgence on its cherished benefits here crystallised as aesthetic beauty inevitably leads to its exhaustion.

Collaborators: (Martin Tomitsch,Luke Hespanhol, Philip Peltz) 

A video interview of the project can be found here http://vimeo.com/64285466