RETRACTION is an environment made up of seven fabricated rooms and connecting corridors. Inside it, your movement and proximity can alter the trajectory of several interwoven narratives. There are over twenty characters in the sprawling, non-linear narrative that makes up the video portions of this work. Three additional characters appear live in the installation.
You enter Retraction through a formal lobby where a receptionist sits at a large desk. From there, you continue down a hallway to a projection room where a huge video screen displays events taking place in another space. There is no clear-cut beginning or end to this or other video narratives in Retraction. You create your own sense of cause and effect. After following another short passageway, you enter the room just seen on video. In this octagonal Hub, you can trigger infrared sensors to cause seamless changes in scenes on two televisions – effectively activating character interactions.
The experience of seeing a space on video before actually entering that space repeats when you enter the Long Hall- way, one of two rooms seen on TV in the Hub. Deeper into the Retraction, the pattern shifts to include video scenes in locations outside the installation’s boundaries, and to places already visited – implying a connection to the past and to a present elsewhere. Additional rooms in the environment include a second projection room, a nursery and a souvenir shop.
RETRACTION builds both true and false expectations about time and space. Models studied for this project include crowd management for blockbuster museum shows and the narrative paths of carnival attractions and indoor Disney rides. Each of these formats determines a viewer’s experiences in a prescribed order, sometimes enforced by a mechanical mode of transport such as train cars or moving walkways. Retraction disturbs the idea of total artistic control by engaging the viewer as an active participant in a plausible environment. By allowing for freedom of movement and interaction, this piece relates to both walking tours of living history sites and the ability to backtrack and reevaluate in many computer games. The narrative of Retraction is open-ended, and the lack of neat resolution allows the viewer to take a more proactive stance.