dan browne

War(n/m)ing (2010)

Site-specific video installation with infrared camera | 32' (6' excerpt)

by Filiz Klassen & Dan Browne

Combining the language of film, architecture and performance art, ‘War(n/m)ing’ constructs an artistic framework with which to question built environments’ impact on climate change.

Comprised of live video capture and multiple pre-recorded video loops sequenced from our process recordings with a thermal camera, ‘War(n/m)ing’ will suspend the participants’ gaze on the energy exchange between a building and the atmosphere. The layers of recordings from heat transfer and waste energy that are released freely and invisibly into the atmosphere will be made visible with infrared colors of the live and pre-recorded video recordings and be projected on to a chosen building facade.

The live video capture of audience participation as an overlay to the pre-recorded images of the building surfaces will provide a connective tissue between architecture, people and the built environments’ contribution to green house gas emissions. These multiple video projections on the building facade will offer moments of experience that transcend the distant view of climate change into an immediate observation that is perceived by people participating in the performance. By turning the camera on people who are moving in and outside the building, we will entwine their images with the façade thus creating a spontaneous choreography with their movements, gestures and pauses.

Every moving experience of built environments is multi-sensory. However, within the current art/architectural debate there is much emphasis of architecture as a visual construct, as a mere form making exercise. This project is an ambitious undertaking aiming to elevate the notion of ‘architecture as performance’ by generating a multi-sensory experience for the participating audiences/inhabitants. Exploration of architectural issues within a public video installation will also provide an opportunity to contribute to the debate about the future of architecture in Toronto as well as the global context. As collaborators, we believe that the multi-layered experience and synthesis of culture in architecture are best expressed in a cross disciplinary performance medium rather than in a two dimensional presentation that is most commonly used architectural communication tool.

Built environments’ impact on global warming influence Toronto’s inhabitants, socially, economically and psychologically, and beg for artists, activists, professionals, and politicians to take action. The discussions about architectural issues have to be included in the city’s creative cultural milieu and push beyond the realm of critics’ reviews of the current or upcoming building stock in Toronto, and their critique as an aesthetic or technical pursuit. Expanding on the collaborating artists’ previous investigations of architecture, film, and climate change from the ‘Weathering Architecture’ performance, this project examines the underlying premise that we are heating up the planet with our buildings and cities and that artistic work in this area may propel positive change to lessen our energy consumption. Concurring with David Suzuki’s statement, we certainly think that ‘the challenge of the future is the challenge of the cities. This is the future of environmentalism because this is where we are living.’

Through this interactive project, we hope to offer new perspectives and contribute to the interpretations of the contemporary performance/installation art that deal with climate change. By providing more than a static visual display on a building, we hope to start a dialogue among the participating audience that will encourage tactile experience of hot/cold buildings. The performance narrative will evolve based on audience reaction to the installation and captured thermal images. We believe that this approach can challenge the predominant architectural vision of the ‘static buildings’ and conceive them as social, cultural as well as environmental ‘performance’.

Presented as part of "Come Up To My Room," at The Gladstone Hotel, Toronto., 2010.