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angles of incidence (works) : next memory city
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Next Memory City, Toronto : Venice
David Rokeby teams up with Eve Egoyan and Michael Awad to explore the inter-city
by HorizonZero editors

In David Rokeby's Seen, video streams of Venice's Piazza San Marco will be split into two separate screens, one showing only objects in motion, the other showing only objects at rest. A third screen will map the trajectory of every person and every pigeon in the piazza. Moving humans and birds will glide brightly across the screen, the traces of their passage fading gradually over time. The result will be a map of swirling urban activity. "Overall," says Rokeby, "the intention is to look at the way people occupy this peculiar urban space."

Rokeby created Seen for Next Memory City, Toronto:Venice, a collaboration with concert pianist Eve Egoyan and architect Michael Awad that represents Canada's entry in the 8th International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale (September 8 to November 3, 2002). The three-part installation is designed to provide a glimpse into the "Inter-city": that virtual space created between cities like Venice and Toronto through the mediations of high bandwidth digital communications infrastructures. Neither one place nor the other, the Inter-city is a global network of contacts between people and places that is beginning to alter perceptions of urban space.

In Next Memory City, the refracted video images of Seen will be projected on one wall of the National Gallery of Canada's Canadian Pavilion in Venice. On the opposite wall will be Awad's Chinatown, a very long still photograph taken in Toronto. Chinatown shows only objects in motion -- for example, people and streetcars. All architecture at rest remains invisible -- the urban background disappears. The final third of the installation, Channel, is a sound work created by Egoyan and Rokeby. Rokeby explains: "It is intended to accompany the two visual works. Sounds recorded in both Venice and Toronto will be played across an eight channel sound system occupying the space between the visual works. The sounds are of urban spaces, so they relate to the images, drawing the images off the flat wall. Venice sounds will pass along the 'channel' between the two works in one direction, and Toronto sounds in the other. The differences between the city sound-scapes are quite extreme! We are looking at the way that buildings define acoustic spaces. The sounds carry the imprint of architecture without actually showing or referring to the architecture itself."

Next Memory City is a production of Alphabet City and Toronto's Interaccess Electronic Media Arts Centre. It was created with the support of The Canada Council for the Arts and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

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