Daniel Sauter: Light Attack

  • ©,

Artist Statement:

    Light Attack is a media artwork, as well as social experiment, performed in public urban spaces. As a car drives through the city, an animated virtual character is projected onto the cityscape, exploring places “to go” and places “not to go,” according to the popular Lonely Planet travel guide.

    Light Attack elaborates the concept of the “moving moving” image. The projected moving imagery corresponds to the movement through the space, while the character’s behavior is influenced by the urban context and passers-by. The piece suggests “projection” as an emergent ubiquitous medium, raising questions about property and privacy. How public is public space? How do authorities deal with this question? How is “projection,” as an ubiquitous medium, chang­ing the environment in which we live?

    In its first version, premiered in Los Angeles in 2004, Light Attack focused on the ambiguous nature of the city, such as logics of place, neighborhood, environment, landscape, and social context in the stereotyped neighborhoods of Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Downtown, Watts, and Compton. Performed within the iconic architecture of Florence, Italy, in 2005, the virtual character revealed and absorbed a radically different urban context through its own beam of light, engaging passers-by and architecture in a visual dialogue.

    One of the main objectives of Light Attack is to transform the city’s signs and architecture as a “sender” into a “recipient” through mobile projection. By augmenting a virtual character onto the buildings’ facades, Light Attack appropriates the urban context for artistic expression. Hence, the project challenges the concept of the public sphere, individual and commercial interests, privacy, and property.

Technical Information:

    Light Attack uses a custom mobile projection setup installed in a car to project an animated virtual character onto the cityscape. The setup includes a computer laptop, velocity sensor, power supply, projector, and a video camera to document the piece. The car’s movement through the city determines the virtual character’s behavior and motion patterns, synchronized by a velocity sensor attached to the car wheel and custom computer software. Short pre-recorded video loops are arranged into seamless motion patterns by the computer software, allowing interaction with the architecture and passers-by in real time.