For Transits, Ursula Damm filmed Basel’s most important traffic junction, the Aeschenplatz, over a twenty-four-hour period. Every day, thousands of cars, pedestrians, and trams pass through it. Transits captures and isolates the recorded stream of motion using an intelligent algorithm developed by the artist and her collaborator Martin Schneider: It evaluates the audiovisual data and categorizes movement patterns and color schemes.
Based on human memory structure and visual processing, an artificial neural network computes the visual flow. It is integrated in the software – every pixel corresponds to one neuron. Various perceptual image layers overlap to generate an intriguing visual language in which stationary pictorial elements compete with the colorful movements of the scene.
The generative video interprets movements and eventually throws the viewer back to an individual perception of the city. Neighborhoods are experienced nowadays not only by foot, but also through smartphones and numerous other gadgets. The video addresses the overlap between digital informational flows and geographic reality, thus highlighting the reconfiguration of public spaces.
Transits was produced for the 2012 exhibition Sensing Place at the House of Electronic Arts Basel, and is part of that museum’s collection.
Shown at Seasons of Media Arts – City of Participative Visions (2019).
Time: 08.08.2019 – 15.09.2019
Location: Video art in trams