BEHEMOTH

BEHEMOTH

Matthew used this project to explore the phenomenology of horror.

Matthew used this project to explore the phenomenology of horror.

On Sunday, August 9, Matthew Schwager turned vision into reality by projecting his Major Research Project, Behemoth, onto Kitchener City Hall. The promo for the project goes something like this:

“Inspired by religious myth and posthumanist philosophy, Behemoth allows participants to project their eyes onto Ktichener City Hall and view the city with the eyes of a building.”

Viewers looking into the box saw Downtown Kitchener from the perspective of City Hall's rooftop.

Viewers looking into the box saw Downtown Kitchener from the perspective of City Hall’s rooftop.

This project started out as a whimsical concept mentioned by Matthew during one of the Critical Media Lab’s “Digital Mondays” sessions. Now it is a real, living thing, and Matthew has earned his M.A. in XDM. But it took a great deal of negotiation to make it happen. For one thing, we weren’t able to use the two massive Christie projectors that shine on “the cube” above City Hall. The antiquated interface for these projectors is in great need of an update, and I hope to see that happen soon. We brought our own Christie projector from the CML, lugged it up to the roof of City Hall, and stacked it on tables and boxes to get the right effect. Also, Matthew had to do some research on how to fall from a tall building, and he had to wear a safety harness to set up his laptop at the edge of the roof. And then there was the liability waiver. All in good fun.

The people at the City of Kitchener were incredibly helpful, and we are fortunate to have them support public art like no other city.

Also, special thanks to our good friend Darin White, masterful urban photographer and storyteller, who is always up for the digital antics of the CML. See Darin’s coverage of the night of Behemoth here: http://makebright.com/2015/08/youre-projecting-art-on-kitchener-city-hall/ .

What will Matthew do next? Hopefully the project will be fine-tuned for more events.

What will Matthew do next? Hopefully the project will be fine-tuned for more events. In the meantime, he may turn the safety harness into a fashion statement.