Untitled, 2019-20

Salvage neon, metal, and styrofoam projection-mapped with an interactive multi-channel array of live surveillance video

Image courtesy of the artist

Tra Bouscaren

Tallahassee, Florida

“Pollution is in fashion today, exactly in the same way as revolution: it dominates the whole life of society, and it is represented in illusory form in the spectacle.” —Guy Debord, A Sick Planet

My work engages American spectacle at the crossroads of waste culture and the surveillance state. I sculpt trash into screens for the multichannel projection of surveillance-based video.

My site-responsive process begins with harvesting materials from the waste stream that bear symbolic, indexical, and poetic resonance with what I identify as the toxic underbelly of American culture. Aggregating these waste materials into networks of provisional sculpture, I then weave surveillance cameras through the sculpture such that they capture live feeds of anyone that enters the space.

I then submerge the waste-based sculpture into a video bath built from the real-time algorithmic combination of the security feeds, such that the images of the people who are in the space serve to illuminate the sculpture that they approach. By projection-mapping live video mashups of the exhibition-viewer back onto the waste-based material of the exhibition, the work serves to implicate spectators back into what they have arrived to judge.