There are infrared cameras at Government Center watching and recording your movement. No surprise, I know, but it’s not what you’re thinking. Commissioned by Miami-Dade Art in Public Places, artist and architect Ivan Toth Depeña recently installed “Reflection” in the lobby of the major downtown Metrorail hub.
Permanently installed on Nov. 18, “Reflection” comprises six LED light boxes located in the lobby that interact with and respond to commuters’ movement and gesture via camera tracking …
Permanently installed on Nov. 18, “Reflection” comprises six LED light boxes located in the lobby that interact with and respond to commuters’ movement and gesture via camera tracking. Here’s further explanation from the press release:
Custom software has been developed to complete Depeña’s vision and the LED nodes have been individually programmed to be the anchor of the work’s responsiveness and interactivity. Passers-by have their images captured by several infrared cameras; the installation’s software then abstracts that image in real time, displaying this abstraction on the light covered columns. The resulting image creates an ethereal mirror that testifies to the participation of the audience and the activity of the space.
In an age of worrisome government surveillance, it seems almost too consistent that one of the county’s major transportation hubs decided to install an art piece that watches commuters and retains a “memory of users’ interactivity”. In fact, if “Reflection” were an intentional reference to the hyper-surveillance that is common (and perhaps necessary) at places like Government Center around the country — a transmutation of the phenomenon from something troubling to something beautiful, and still troubling — that would be pretty interesting.
There is no mention of that motivation in the description on Depeña’s website. Rather, the artist describes “Reflection” as a community project that “gives the space added life and allows the community to be a part of the constantly evolving artwork.” Of course, “national security”, with its surveillance, is itself a kind of community project, but that’s neither here nor there. “Reflection” is not a critique of the other cameras watching you at Government Center. It is an attempt to invigorate a dreary space and, judging by these images, it is a good start.
Released 10 months ago, this video presents Depeña’s vision for “Reflection” and how Metrorail commuters would interact with and experience the piece.