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Urban Skin


Urban Skin is a video shot in 3-D perspective.   This was accomplished by mounting two video cameras side-by-side, separating the lenses by 2 1/2" (the average separation distance of an adult human eyes) in order to achieve two angles of vision in proper 3-D perspective.   The video is presented on two large computer monitors and viewed through two large glass prisms that I designed and built.   The final presentation is similar to looking through an oversized Viewmaster or Stereoscope, but with a moving image accompanied by stereo sound.   The purpose of creating the large prisms and using large video monitors is to more closely fill the viewer's total field of vision, creating an immersive experience.  


The contents of the video in Urban Skin, is a continually oscillating image stream of an urban landscape and a close-up skin-scape of a human body.   The urban landscape is in 3-D perspective, but the skin-scape is in 2-D (the same image is presented to both eyes).   The two movies fade and weave together, synchronized to the sound of breathing that is radiating from the speakers.  

I came up with the idea for this piece as I began to dwell upon the notion that the urban city acts as a skin to its inhabitants.   Its architectural structures form a protective layer and a membrane for those that live within it.   The doors and windows of the buildings regulate what passes through to the inhabitants and even the streets and sidewalks form a protective coating, mitigating the surrounding forces of nature.  

Yet at the same time, the city would be like an abandoned shell without its inhabitants.   Without people, a city is like a skeleton without flesh, without skin.   By this perspective, the biological population of a city acts as a skin layer for the architectural structures.   So simultaneously, by shifting perspectives, the city acts as a skin for its people and the people act as a skin for the city.   In Urban Skin, the two perspectives are represented by the city being rendered in 3-D and the skin-scape being rendered in 2-D.   The perspective shift is represented by the sounds of inhalation and exhalation, synchronized with the fading between the two video streams.  

This work is meditative as it is presented as a continuous loop, creating an environment that surrounds the viewer.   This video is not necessarily meant to be viewed in its entirety, it is meant to create an installation environment that one can dwell in for a time.