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Walking Through Florence

Walk in Italy

Have you ever had that dream where
you're walking in a city, only it is mysteriously deserted? Thanks
to Dutch media artist Marnix de Nijs and his exhibition 'Exploded
Views – Remapping Firenze
', the deserted-city experience has been
brought one step closer – through clever use of the treadmill.

A walk in Italy

Picture this: the city of Florence by
night spread out before you. Deserted and wonderful, as you have
never seen it before, minus the hordes of tourists who walk its
cobbled streets during the day. You step onto a treadmill, and start
running, and become totally absorbed by the city of Florence.

For the nitty gritty: how does it
work? Two industrial treadmills stand in front of a huge screen
displaying the landscape of Florence, brought to life by detailed 360
degree computer scanning and subsequent re-animation.. The 3-D images
are put into motion by the physical efforts of you, the viewer: in
other words, the speed of your movements directly guides the
intensity of your aesthetic experience: the faster you run, the more
life-like the city. Sensors placed in the handle bars detect the
viewer's movements, and allows him/her to determine the direction of
the journey.


Similar to Nijs' 2001 installation,
'Run, Motherfucker, Run,' where the viewer/participant ran through an
empty, anonymous city, 'Exploded Views' resulted from requests for a
site-specific city project, in the process playing with our
perceptions of what we take for granted while traveling. But both
preserve the specifics of the aesthetic experience: step to the
right, the screen image pans to the right; as you walks slower, the
image walks slower; start running, and you're running through an
empty city. In 'Exploded Views', the affect is heightened by
including the aural experience as well: over 250 field recordings of
the sounds of Florence haunt you as you traverse the empty city.

Italy walk

Unfortunately, the original exhibit
ended in June 30, 2008, but I can not wait until the exhibit makes
it's way to town. I actually wouldn't mind jogging down a completely
deserted Sunset Boulevard, or traveling on the 101 highway towards
downtown L.A., completely empty, all the while on a treadmill. I know, not
the point, but hey! We are a travel blog. HL


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  • Jonay

    October 21, 2011

    If you wrote an article about life we’d all reach enlgihtenenmt.

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