European Mobile Lab for Interactive Artists

Artists: Nigel Johnson, Dave Lawrence, Duke Albada

Type of project: Reactive installation

Dimensions: Enclosed intimate area 3m x 3m (minimum), central object 90cm diameter (max), 1.2m (height)

Materials: Mini led projector, webcam, computer, powered speakers, G-Vision software, Max/Jitter software, pre-fabricated base, glass/perspex bowl or container, resin and water, miscellaneous components

Moments is an art installation that asks you to pause for a moment … to contemplate.

Through the medium of a real-time artwork, this installation works with contemporary technologies, imagery and sound to evoke “meditative moments” or “contemplative states”, representative of and similar to those attained through the process of ‘Scrying’.

‘Scrying’ or ‘Divination’ is a practice that manifests itself across numerous cultures, ideologies and belief systems where through conscious and subconscious thought, visions, revelations or spiritual enlightenment can be obtained. It is the energy the person puts into this method that will be repaid. The Scrying technique often requires a time of extreme concentration, in actuality inducing a state of meditation where the time line warps and other dimensions become visible allowing glimpses of the past, present or future. The practice typically employs media that varies from crystal, glass, water (hydromancy), fire and other reflective and translucent surfaces and objects. In this case water has been chosen as a conducer, enabling sub-conscious happenings, occasions or emotions.

Water is one of the five classical elements, an immensely versatile and exquisite medium despite its deceptively simple structure, this essential and ubiquitous substance exhibits strange characteristics, through its state changing properties from solid to liquid to gas, that can constantly hold our attention. When still it acts like a mirror, reflecting our image and surroundings but in motion the reflections become distorted and the mirror effect is replaced by an ever changing light play derived from the colours and shading of the environment. Water is a contradictory medium, solid when frozen, vapour when heated, a cleansing and therapeutic medium or a medium of torture. We can drown in water yet we cannot exist without it.

By looking into the water in the ‘Scrying Pool’, the viewer sees their own reflection revealed, captured and manipulated, drifting in and out, merged with past viewers interactions and imagery, and where the viewer is receptive, heightening states of consciousness and momentary spaces for contemplation.

The artists seek to evoke, to momentarily halt and bend the viewer's sense of the present and self. The work aims to offer "a passage", "a portal to inner reflection" to contemplate the passage of time; past-present-future.

Contact artist: Nigel Johnson (n.m.johnson@dundee.ac.uk)


University of Dundee, Scotland, UK
Middlesex University, London, UK


Project images
(click to enlarge)