Ars Electronica 2003
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Elevated Space

'Thomas Lorenz Thomas Lorenz

Elevated Space consists of films designed to be shown in the Ars Electronica Center’s elevator. They were the subject of two classes in the CasinoIT / DV workshop at the University of Stuttgart’s Department of Urban Planning and Architecture as well as of the Visual Culture module at the Technical University of Vienna’s Department of Architecture and Spatial Planning. These films were made in cooperation with the Ars Electronica Futurelab in Linz and especially with Christopher Lindinger and Dietmar Offenhuber, who not only helped to resolve questions having to do with the equipment’s technical specifications and made themselves available for the final installation but also provided valuable input in conjunction with the classroom instruction.

Elevated Space is a project that conforms to and also expands the pre-existing structure of the Ars Electronica Center’s elevator. The floor of the elevator car is a plate of glass that serves as the projection surface for a film whose running speed is synchronized with that of the elevator. The film that is shown during a ride from the lowest underground level to the top floor is also interrupted by a brief intermediate sequence whenever the elevator makes a stop at one of the floors in between. This is why passengers do not always get to watch the whole film—all 30 seconds of it, which is not very much to begin with—but rather in many cases see only fragments of the work depending on where they get on and off. In addition to what is by nature an unusual perspective, the fact that viewers are standing upon the projection surface triggers, on one hand, the feeling of being “right in the middle of the action”; on the other hand, one’s view is highly dependent upon how many other passengers happen to be riding in the elevator car at that moment.

This setup, in which the projection surface is not limited to a certain form but rather, due to its particular parameters, creates a unique setting that opens up possibilities as well as establishing limitations, emerges as a space in which literally everything can be seen and, at the same time, only certain things can work. Thus, there are actually several spaces superimposed upon each other at this site: the confined space of the elevator car, the space of the elevator shaft that is, in a certain sense virtual since although we know it exists, we never see it, and the graphic space, which can be identical with or totally different from the real space. And finally, there’s the “space” that influences us through the fact that one of its facets is variable and can function as a limitation, as a means of making visible, or as an expansion. Moreover—and this seems to be an essential characteristic of this place—the elevator has an added significance: what takes place within it is, as a rule, “consumed” within a matter of only a few seconds. And even though one gets closer to the screen than is usually the case, there is no time to get involved in details. Therefore, producers of films for this installation must decide whether they want to reach their potential viewers as quickly as possible or if they want to take a chance that audience members will eventually figure out what they are being shown after several viewings.

In light of this limited number of possibilities, students at the University of Stuttgart and the Technical University of Vienna have created films that deal with these aspects. In doing so, they have come up with projects that are interrelated in many different ways and that indicate how many forms of images and spaces there can be.

The Moon and the Soup
Karin Reisinger

Just like moon formations, there are also soup formations, though they have been the focus of much less research than those of the moon in spite of the fact that, as objects of research, they are located much closer and can be reproduced at will. Thus, the (pseudo)-science of soup formations is also a story about tradition, the private sphere and everyday life, since the true soup movement—in contrast to the public projection space, the elevator—usually takes place at home. Research into soup formations can thus be conducted by anyone; trying out on ones own body the mass-in-motion with its private context can be done only in the elevator in which the film is being shown—and indeed, virtually, as a possibility.

Margit Thieme

Horizon Line ... This still-widely-unnoticed artistic invention to differentiate every “form” and every “background” ... from one another ... as a result of which we so often lose sight of the zenithal perspective ... a battle waged by relentlessly stubborn surveyors ... for forgetting the differentiation between “above” and “below.” All that is meant to remain is the differentiation between “near” and “far,” the vanishing point.

Vanishing point ... the vanishing lines that run together at the horizon are not ... the first orientation point of our view, ... but rather the light pressure of a universal attraction that imposes upon us its orientation on the center of the earth and the danger of downfall .... the vanishing point of Quattrocento will now be complemented by the vanishing point of Novecento: Today there is an exit on top …

Um-Chi-Im e Je-Sul –
The Art of Movement

Andreas Mäule

Due to human anatomy, traveling vertically through space forces man to make use of technical and architectural aids. The space generated by this vertical motion makes other forms of movement possible.

UZUMAKI – The Spiral
Volker Gebhard

To escape the dogma of the horizontal, man invented the elevator. But this mode of transportation is also the most unnatural one for us. In order to break the vertical axis, it has to be overlaid with a second, undirected movement so that there is no longer a forward and backward, nor any more up and down ...

Emilie Hagen & Minka Ludwig

Are you totally fit, or do you always feel a little bit lazy whenever you take the lift? Here, you can see in detail what you’ve been missing in the elevator. How indefatigably industrious people live.

Video ohne Schildkröte (World without Tortoise), Agnes Liebsch & Judith Leitner; Konsumwelt (World of Consumption), Peter Swatschina; non stop, Marco Tschöp; XXX, Alexander Laber; BLACK HOLE / SHOP TILL YOU DROP, Emilie Hagen & Minka Ludwig
All projects at: http://double-happiness.co.uk/lspace

Translated from the German by Mel Greenwald

We wish to thank Gerfried Stocker from the Ars Electronica Center for his interest in and openness to the project concept, as well as Petra Gemeinböck, Ingrid Manka, Sven Pfeiffer and Peter Mörtenböck for their substantive suggestions and critique of the work.