Brian Knep: Healing Series
2003-2004, video camera, video projector, computer, custom software, people, 9’x6′ to 12’x9’The Healing Series is a set of interactive floor pieces that explore responses to the change caused by interaction.
The series is currently made up of three separate but similar interactive floor pieces. They are dynamic and change in response to visitors. When a piece encounters a foreign body, such as a gallery visitor, the pattern on it pulls away, creating a wound. When the foreign body leaves, the pattern heals itself and the wound closes, but each piece heals itself in a different way.
In Healing #1 the sides of the wound never actually touch. A scar forms — a memory of the interaction between the visitor and the mat. Over time the scar may be obliterated, but its effect on the pattern’s growth is permanent. The pattern looks the same qualitatively, but it never looks exactly the same as it did before the interaction.
Healing #2 is minimal and meditative, with the mat oozing over the wound caused by visitor interaction. The mat heals itself until only the essence of each scar is left. Eventually this essence also disappears, leaving a solid glowing mat.
In Healing #3 the reaction is more violent, with the pattern pulsating and quickly reforming over the wounds. Again, as in Healing #1, the pattern is forever changed by the interaction with the visitor, but visitors’ long-term effects on the pattern are less visible.
The pieces in the series are about interactions. They are an attempt to distill and explore the changes that happen when things interface with each other, whether it’s two people talking, a person walking through the woods, wood rotting underwater, or other types of interaction. The contact causes changes in all participants, and so has a destructive quality, but change forces growth, and so has a regenerative quality.
Each piece is playful and encourages visitors to explore it in different ways. Some approach it meditatively, walking across the carpet slowly and then watching it heal. Some play with it like a pet, others try to destroy or ‘kill’ it. Some stop to dance, lie down, or roll on the carpet, watching the pattern react.
Others place objects, like scarves, umbrellas, even pets, on the surface to see what happens. They learn to push and pull the pattern, and can coerce it into different shapes. They experiment, trying new ways to interact with the piece, and they watch and learn from each other. In collaboration, they might even be able to destroy the entire pattern, forcing it to grow from scratch. In all these ways, they interact not only with the carpet but with each other, creating changes and forcing growth.
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