Absence is an interactive installation. We find ourselves in a dark space, silent and still… We see only a static object, as if it were a statue, this object is…. a sewing machine, breathing slowly under a dim light… Little by little we get closer, until we are standing in front of it (near the sensor to activate the installation). And at that moment, it begins to move, to sew. Weaving a space with threads allows us to construct a projection plane onto which poems can be embroidered.
Mexico has been seriously affected by the problem of feminicides, as is the case of the women killed in Ciudad Juárez. So I decided to work with something softer and more subtle, like a poetry for these women. The poet Rocío Cerón wrote it especially for this installation. I used a sewing machine because in Ciudad Juárez, a lot of the women who are murdered, work in “maquiladoras” and they have hard schedules. Sometimes they work at night and when they go home, it´s dark: perfect to be abused and killed.
Technically the piece works as an interactive "security system." Instead of use an alarm, the system triggers different kind of events to modify the sound, the image, the speed of the sewing machine's motors and light on the piece.
Depth (hacked xbox kinect camera) and presence sensors are used to capture users motion data, the movements are translated thru a software designed and developed to generate different interpretations of the piece for every single group of users.
The piece has two different moments: The absence moment when there is no users on front of the interaction area, sounds, lights and the sewing machine are programmed to seems to be taking a nap. And the "security presence" moment described earlier using users movements to modify variables. Everything was built thanks to the open source comunity, developed whith #openframeworks
I usually work with a programmer, Eduardo Jiménez, who is composer as well. At his home studio in México City, he wrote and produced a simple music score with conventional software and instruments. In the Absence presentations, he used these files as a multitrack section on a custom software built in max msp to modify the pitch, granularity, spacialization, everything mixed with sewing machine micro samples and generative patterns. The piece does not have a start or an end, it is an infinite generative system.
The installation has been seen in:
2015 Light festival in Gent, Belgium
2015 Filux, Light festival in Mexico
2016 gallery “La Libertad” in Querétaro, México.
2017 Lux Helsinki, Finland.
Absence is a tribute to all women brutally murdered. We are tired of reading the news and of knowing how they feel when they find the body without life. Today we live in a time of crisis and violence. In our day to day lives we witness death in many ways (economic, moral, hope, etc).
To think of light as the link between life and death, as a symbol of hope, or to understand that Light is not a body but the shape of all bodies. Light is connected with life and death. Light gives life to this poem to another missing woman.