Merging Technologies and Dataton at the Venice Biennale
Danish Pavilion’s spectacular display is a WATCHOUT and Ovation combination
Puidoux, June 2013: A complex multi-screen projection set to run for five months in a national pavilion at one of the world’s most prestigious art event has to work and it has to work well. Renowned Scandinavian rental and installation company, Informationsteknik, was happy to propose Dataton’s WATCHOUT™ as the ideal solution to the playback on 5 screens but dealing with 11 channels of audio and one screen in 5.1 was not so easy. In the light of previous experience, there was a need to find something that would be perfectly in sync but also easy to edit. Informationsteknik’s Sebastian Lissau Lund has a background in theatre sound design and has the experience to know that keeping all the elements separate is safer and easier to make cue changes, but it is often difficult to start all the playout devices precisely at the same time and remain in sync for the 10 minutes of the video and continue looping all day. Fortunately a colleague had seen Merging’s Ovation in operation and was impressed with its capability and its ability to synchronize timelines with WATCHOUT. Time was extremely short so a demo was scheduled by Peter Scheelke from Merging DK, the system was ordered and within 24 hours of receiving the system, it was shipped to Venice.
The work on display in the Danish Pavilion is entitled Intercourses 2013 by the artist Jesper Just. Made up of five channels, the film is set in a replica of Paris, France, in a suburb of Hangzhou, China. Unlike many replica cities, this one is fully functional, though in contrasting states of construction and decay. The film follows three men, interwoven within the scenes, but it is the city that is the main character.
The projections vary in size from depending on the scale of the room they inhabit, thus underscoring the spatial element of Just’s presentation. The exhibition begins before the visitor has entered the pavilion, with architectural interventions defined by Just that create a new geography, engaging the viewer on a visual but also a physical level. The architecture orchestrates the audience’s relation to the work, choreographing the viewer’s experience of the pavilion. The main projection with 5.1 audio is 14 metres long and 3.5 metres high driven by 4 projectors and there are 3 additional 16:9 screens and a small 4:3 projection that is about a metre across. The smaller screens have either stereo or mono sound playing from the same Ovation. The material was shot on location in China in 5K using RED cameras. WATCHOUT is used to drive the total projection system with Ovation acting as the slave.
Sebastian Lissau Lund had this to add: “Ovation definitely appeared at the right moment for us and it really ticks the boxes for the ideal system of having two playout systems working separately but in perfect harmony. My only frustration has been not having enough time to play with it before we shipped it out to Venice. Ovation is a welcome addition to our rental stock and I am sure it will see a lot of use in the future.”
About Merging Technologies
Merging Technologies SA is a Swiss manufacturer with over 20 years of experience in developing groundbreaking, professional Audio and Video products for a wide range of entertainment and media industries. With a dedicated user base in the elite end of the music, film, television, mastering and performances industries, Merging is committed to developing product ranges with unrivalled quality and flexibility, no matter what the application. Merging builds tools for people who want more from their systems, have an inherent need to push boundaries, and believe that quality always comes first, every time.
For additional information about Informationsteknik, visit www.informationsteknik.com
Kindly credit film stills from Intercourses:
Jesper Just, Intercourses, 2013, still from 5-channel video installation at the Danish Pavilion for the 55th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia, 2013. Courtesy the artist.