Installation by Ursula Damm and Felix Bonowski
Kontinuum is a generative installation based on observation of the stream Chriesbach and analyses of its water. It is a public art work for a laboratory facility of the EAWAG (Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology) Zürich. Set-up effectuated in July 2021.
The installation deals with the Chriesbach. The study of water is the starting point of the work. Through continuous viewing we gain views that tell of the essence of the water, its nature, the environment through reflection. In the laboratory building, projections can be seen that report to the viewers in real time on the condition of the Chriesbach in two aspects: from a visual and data analysis point of view. The viewers are able to experience the state of the stream and the weather through the projections, as in a kind of “atmospheric weather report”. While one projection transforms moving images from 3 cameras – located at the banks of the stream – into a machine-learned impressionistic abstraction, the other uses abstract measurement data and translates them into a moving image language recognizable to humans as water dynamics. With these two views, Kontinuum develops a continuous transition from an abstract representation via numbers and signs to the photographic image.
For this work we use algorithms that temporally condense a current video recording. This creates images that tell of the passage of water, its fleetingness, its adaptability and its changing colors through the light reflections of the environment. The videos of the Chriesbach stand at one end of the continuum, whose other end is determined by data representations of its water. The image moves between these poles, allowing the viewer to experience which aesthetics nature offers and which are the expression of human knowledge systems. In this way, the work reflects the work of a research institute and allows a reconnection to the object of study in its original form and its original form as well as its transformation through the elements of (digital) processing. The work, however, provides yet another continuum: it shows the Chriesbach in its fluctuations, changes, moods and extremes throughout the year. Thus, the work can be seen as a form of barometer for the state of the stream and informs the residents of the institute about the “outdoors” as an aesthetic manifestation.