Icara-Icara : [audio-video installation for 2-channel synchronised HD video and surround sound – 10’ 14’’ loop]
Social Sciences, Arts & Humanities Research Institute
School of Creative Arts
Theorising Visual Art and Design
Icara-Icara is a reworking of the Icarus myth. The work is structured as a non-narrative set of symbolic material arranged in cyclical form, and is conceived to provide a new and enlarged meaning of an important myth that touches on some fundamental themes of timeless relevance. Alternative interpretations and outcomes are explored by substituting a female protagonist who, unlike Icarus, decides to fly at night. The particular design of the installation chamber and the arrangement of the screens are unique to this work – the aim is to go beyond the flatness of the video format, exploiting several perceptual strategies to provide, instead, a tri-dimensional audio-visual environment for an immersive (and even inclusive) audience experience. The particular angle and distance of the projection walls envelops the viewer and gives rise to a "stereo" image – two separate streams of visual information that are channelled discretely through each eye and are then re-combined in the brain. The large mirror covering the entire back wall further augments audience participation by reflecting at once the viewers and the two screens, thus placing the viewers right inside the screened images and making them, effectively, part of the artwork. Four channels of surround audio are delivered by speakers concealed in the chamber’s walls. The soundtrack takes the practice of sound design to a higher level – not bound by notions of ‘realism’ in matching sounds and visual events, but free to explore metaphorical correspondences to convey directly states of mind, situations, and symbolical connections. The audio is produced with a special emphasis on auditory spatial information designed to draw the audio-viewer in the midst of the screened events – from the claustrophobic setting of the protagonist’s suburban dwelling to the limitless space of the open sky.