Miroslaw Rogala's Lovers Leap, 1995
The Lovers Leap Interactive Website is currently undergoing a Millennial Redesign.
Lovers Leap, 1995
Interactive environment produced in two forms simultaneously as an interactive multimedia installation (using the viewer's body as a triggering device) and as a CD-ROM (using the viewer's hand as a triggering device). Thus the work occupies both a public space and a personal space. This created an environment where the audience self-selected themselves into participants and observers. Within each experience there exists a nexus between the work itself and the viewer's interpretation of it. Collaboration with Ludger Hovestadt and Ford Oxaal. Produced at ZKM /The Center for Art and Media Technology, Karlsruhe, Germany, Artist in Residency Fellowship.
INTERACTIVE CD-ROM LOVERS LEAP currently exists as an interactive CD-ROM work in ARTINFACT2, Artists' Interactive CD-ROMagazine, produced by the artist and ZKM/Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany and published by Cantz Verlag: Germany, 1995 (English/German). This CD-ROM presentation is accompanied by a book including the essay by Timothy Druckrey, "Lovers Leap: Taking the Plunge: Points of Entry... Points of Departure".
The repositioning of the subject as thinking the movement of space also characterizes the performative conceit of Miroslaw Rogala's inventive videographic CD-Rom, _Lovers Leap_. Rogala creates a CD-Rom environment of real time and virtual reality that conjoins the speed of digital and electronic light. While watching the video movements of passers-by on the central bridge in downtown Chicago, the user responds to the frantic urban pace of the everyday by freezing the movement-image with the click of the mouse, as if snapping a touristic photograph. But in doing so, the cybertourist is almost simultaneously seized by the uncanny disorientation of what seems to be a familiar photographic scene by the subsequent vector of its movement, the rotation of its vision, and the pivoting of its sensorial planes. For with additional clicks of the mouse, the stilled photograph develops into a dizzying montage of altered angles and perceptions through which the high skyscrapers of the Loop are seen from the top down. The users thus find themselves caught in the space, the vector, and the speed of mutable point-of-view. Is it a coincidence that the uneven soundtrack records the voice of one passerby who recognizes the plight of a fellow traveler caught in the passage of the boundary: "You want to get out of here? Well, I just came in and I came from this way." Caught in the flow of a seemingly unpredictable digital sequentiality, the users inhabit the threshold between two additional states or zones. One is the fractalized anamorphotic rotation of space and light that renders the flat studium of the stilled image into the curvilinear punctum of an image-event in action. The other zone is entered, almost as if by chance, when the users' response to enigmatic hot spots permits them to cross the threshold into the virtual territory of the city's alter-ego, Jamaica, where virtual light waves are the lay of the subliminal land. Here rather amateurish video footage records the artist's own arrestation in the movement of becoming: "Traveling from Chicago to Jamaica," he writes, "I visited a place called 'Lovers Leap' (a legendary location of tragic lovers--such places exist all over the world): there was a military radar scanning the sky. This physical surprise created a conceptual leap as well."
In Rogala's case, the touristic surprise of sensorial entrapment positions the digital user within the destabilizing scene of fantasy as it traverses love and its subliminal leaps in perspective. "Our contemporary life-world," writes Margaret Morse in her perceptive catalogue discussion of the installation on which the CD-Rom is based, "is an aggregate of a physical locality and virtual realms that are linked, but not united. (Manovich) In this case, 'Chicago' and 'Jamaica' correspond less to geographic localities than to states of mind. As Miroslaw Rogala explains, 'movement through perspective is a mental construct; one that mirrors other jumps and disjunctive associations within the thought process.'" The Jamaican image of otherness, similar to the Chicago image of passage, catalyzes less the symbolic opposition of here and there, us and them, now and then, than the phantasmatic interrelation of performance and perspective whose partial uncontrollability and unaccountability happens, as Rogala points out, "in matters of love as well." Fantasy and speculative repetition here morph the dialectics of identity and the political praxis of immediate reaction to situate the visitors in an indeterminate zone of sensory experience.
Somewhat resembling Alice in Wonderland's curious fall through to the other dimension, the combined speed of electronic presentation and the flux of corporeal movement become enfolded in the time delay conjoining subliminal fantasy and speculative thought--enfolded, moreover, within the materialized space of the entry, the visitation, the threshold, the leap, the fantasy, the metamorphosis, the no exit. Rogala's conceptual leap thus involved putting into action something like the enigmatic signifier that unsettles passive, touristic, and colonial observation. As Jean Laplanche describes such an enigmatic signifier, it continues to signify *to* the subject without its addressee knowing *what* it signifies. Through the traumatic nuance of the seduction of language, vision, and, subsequently, all that is particularly dramatic or performative, the trace of the enigma, Laplanche insists, is the carrier of fantasy's affect. While the structure of resemblance and analogy continue to solicit the subject, its affect carries the uncanny incertitude and semiotic openness of the virtual.
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