A O i am greenscreen

Moving Image & sound, 9’00” / 2020

A commission for:

Beyond Measure group exhibition, University of Leeds Cultural Institute, 2020

Landscape and Goodness, presented by Landscape Research Group, 2020

Crochet collaboration with KobaKant Collective, Berlin

Cinematography / Arata Mori

Blue and green screen is all around us these days, simulating dream-worlds of multi-layered virtual realities where macrocosm and microcosm, human and technology interact endlessly, freely.

On the other side of the screen is the looming reality of ecological collapse, whose colours are also blue and green. Why are blue and green the colours of choice for making things disappear in the virtual world, and the colours of the habitats – oceans and forests — that are most at risk of disappearance or degradation in the manifest, material world. I couldn’t help but want to dive into this weird connection.

Inspired by ancient land rituals where costumes were created from leaves, grasses or skins, as forms of camouflage, here the camouflage effect is achieved by reversing the function of ‘green screen’. This time, it’s the human that disappears from the scene and the ‘background’ is allowed to appear, and come into focus.

An electronic crochet wearable object acts as the membrane that allows the boundary to dissolve. The costume is made of sensor technology and it sonifies the data from this dance of human and nonhuman. The data captures the human as she moves slowly and carefully, in a choreography inspired by tai chi forms. The sonic data from the vibrations of a tree being moved by wind are mixed together into the composition, following a pattern of repetition that sounds like the rhythm of breathing. AO in Japanese is an in-between colour (translated as blue-green) used to describe natural phenomena or water. AO (I am greenscreen) creates a spectrum of colour and rhythm that extends between human and nonhuman, and invites the viewer to rethink the power dynamics of human exceptionalism, and their presence in the technologies we encounter everyday.

“The tyranny of the photographic lens, cursed by the promise of its indexical relation to reality, has given way to hyperreal representations—not of space as it is, but of space as we can make it—for better or worse. There is no need for expensive renderings; a simple green screen collage yields impossible cubist perspectives and implausible concatenations of times and spaces alike.”

Hito Steyerl, In Free Fall: a thought experiment on vertical perspective