Scramble, the first collaboration between Neil Webb and Michael Day, creates a disorienting and unsettling vision of urban space and the experience of isolation felt when communication breaks down. By randomly combining live nightvision images of the gallery with pre-recorded images of architectural space, the visual component of the installation puts the viewer at the mercy of surveillance technology, while simultaneously placing them in a distorted mediation of urban confusion. The audio component of the work surrounds the viewer with the ebb and flow of digital communications, moving from alienating periods of calm to intense, distracting digital babble. Eight channels of sound are diffused through the space, putting the stationary viewer at the centre of a transfer of data that is impossible to decode.
The viewer enters a darkened space. On two large projections, digitised images of failed modernity, of concrete subterranean spaces, are being randomly scanned, searched, picked apart and reduced to pixel data. A spatialised soundtrack drawn from the paraphenalia of modern communications pursues the viewer around the space. Over time, the viewer locates their own image amongst the shattered plazas and underpasses, absorbed into the dystopia of information overload.
Scramble, End Gallery, Psalter Lane, Sheffield Hallam University, December 2004
Year of production: 2004
Media: responsive audio-visual installation, 13m x 13m; single screen video, 4min, stereo sound.
Produced in collaboration with Neil Webb.