This week, I was awed in the Marilyn Webster Gallery. When I first walked into Troy Rounseville’s masterpiece, I’ll admit I was confused about what was going on. I walked up to every instrument, when I first arrived in the room, they were silent. I admired the placement of the instruments in the sculpture. I did not realize at first that the white square walls in the center of the room had a door in the back.
I was standing by the drum when I first heard the music begin and the drum was triggered. I noticed then that all the instruments were being manipulated in place by an invisible musician. Then I saw the wires that connected the instruments to the white box in the center. I walked to the back of the little room and noticed a door. I as amazed when I walked inside. Square panels of mirror covered every wall, the floor, and the ceiling. There were little white lights that illuminated the room. As people joined in, I realized that the music was playing more, and that is when someone noticed the little sensors between some of the square panels. We were the music, our bodies movements over certain areas in the mirrored room were monitored by sensors then sent through the wires to the instruments. It was brilliant. I really felt like part of the piece.
I also admired how the mirror made the room feel like it went on forever, and when I looked down at a certain angle, there were many of me on different levels. Looking from a different angle, my feet were standing on top of my feet below me and the other version of myself was upside down. It was a very interesting illusion. I went out of the room and saw the instruments were a lot more active, while the room remained active with people and moving body parts.
Rounseville stated that his piece was exploring the disjunction between our physical embodied experience and its translation through technology. I do believe he portrayed this very well, having people interact in one space and having there interactions literally play outside, out of view. He also stated that he was curious to see if transferring emotion through technology changes the authenticity of an actual experience. I personally, think it does, as my experience became a happy one when I walked through the door and experienced the magic-like quality of the room. Technology, especially these days, has a way of making interactions and experiences very dull and impersonal. Troy’s room made the technology outside and inside the walls a personal experience. I really enjoyed his piece and insight into technology and emotion.