‘desire of codes’ installation by seiko mikami

the installation ‘desire of codes‘ by seiko mikami is designed to mimic the workings of human memory in our modern information society, as robotic sensors respond to the presence of visitors and mix together visual recordings from both the present and past. the piece is on exhibition at the inter communication center in tokyo, japan through december 18th, 2011.

‘desire of codes’ comprises three parts: first, a wall composed of 90 mechanized rods decked with lights, cameras, and sensors; second, a set of six large robotic arms suspended from the ceiling; and third, a wall-mounted sculpture that appears like a large compound eye, divided into 61 hexagonal video screens. the video footage remixed on the screen consists of footage from both past and present visits to the exhibition, as well as data from public surveillance cameras throughout the world.

seiko mikami: desire of codes installation installation view of the wall of mechanical objects (background) and robotic arms (foreground)

upon entry into the exhibition space, a visitor is greeted by the mechanical sounds of 90 wall-mounted appendages blinking and turning in unison to gaze her way. highly sensitive cameras and microphones, capable of detecting activity at levels outside of human perception, record and store visitor interaction. at the same time, in a slightly separate part of the space, six robotic ‘search arms’, mounted from the ceiling, likewise follow the movements of visitors, lowering and turning appropriately as they capture video footage to be sent to the project’s database.

the ‘compound eye’ remixes all of the stored recordings, alongside those taken from public feeds of video surveillance cameras across the world, into a impressionistic compression of space and time: ‘the compound eye visualizes a new reality in which fragmentary aspects of space and time are recombined, while the visitor’s position as a subject of expression and surveillance at once indicates the new appearances of human corporeality and desire.‘

mikami cites the concept behind the installation as an investigation into the changes to identity brought by the modern proliferation of information: ‘what new desires do we have, now that we live in an information-oriented environment and have perceptions shaped by that environment?‘

seiko mikami: desire of codes installation closer view of the display wall, composed of 61 hexagonal screens image © ryuichi maruo, courtesy tama art university department of interaction design

video documentation of the project from a previous exhibition