Athanasia Kyriakakos and Dimitris Rotsios’s remarkable video-sculptural installation Intron (click image left) was housed in the Greek pavilion on the occasion of the 50th Venice Biennale, 2003. Intron was a collaboration between Athanasia Kyriakakos and architect Dimitris Rotsios. What was noteworthy about this work is that it brought together a variety of innovative features.
Firstly it is a video sculpture, secondly it is an installation and thirdly, and perhaps most remarkably, it is highly immersive due to the fact that the viewer can walk over the large landscape-like sculptural configuration—120 square meters (360 square feet).
The image above left is taken with a flash which obliterates the video projection but reveals the sculptural screen upon which the videos were projected. One can also see the marks made by people moving through this immersive video landscape over a period of several months.
What was also interesting about this work, and what integrates quite nicely with its immersive “look and touch” character, is that Intron is also an exploration of the intersection of art and everyday life. Karenina.it reports that the content of the videos are “recorded confessions and descriptions of dreams, which have been collected from individuals from a diverse range of linguistic and ethnic backgrounds.” (karenina.it). The same source also notes that “Visitors will be encouraged to walk, sit, or even recline on the installation, providing an escape from the chaos of ‘outside’ and a place to rest, reflect, and/or meditate.” One can see the coherence of both ambitions in this work.
The technical input of architect Dimitris Rotsios was important in order to create a structure on which not only allows people to walk over it, but also enables this three-dimensional floor to be readily cleaned, owing to the fact that it also needs to function as a screen. Rotsios chose a hi-tech aluminium honeycomb sandwitch material used for flooring in aircraft and, no doubt, the white paint used was of a similar durability to that used on aircraft.
With regard to the content of the videos the overall impression was one of a cacophony. Seeing and hearing individual participants revealing something intimate about themselves demanded exploration, climbing over the landscape-screen to visit one after another. But although these revelations were of interest it was the form of this work was especially spectacular and engaging. One was not only navigating a landscape of moving images, one was also encountering a myriad of extraordinary, geometrical, pictorial forms.
Still images and do not do this installation justice becasue one misses the cacophony of voices which add human presence to the architectural and sculptural aspect of this work. It is also impossible to reproduce the physical act of walking over this video landscape and exploring its varied features.