projects about teaching blog subdivided dean terry


October 30, 2005

Mobile Video Phone Art Project | mo.vid.1 | video painting


mobile phone video artmo.vid.1" is a mobile video project that updates every time a video is sent from my mobile phone to the gallery, often several times a day. The display changes as new videos are sent from the phone, though wireless networks, and to a computer in the gallery. These are micro videos, fifteen seconds long, made wherever I happen to be. They are projected on a large, vertical wall. A second projection high above the first plays previous videos in random order.

The project is centered on the idea of remapping private spaces into public ones, of reversing scale, of inverting and rejecting the consumerist idea of "quality" and its technological expression in ever higher resolutions by exploiting the limits of the devices. (The videos are really pretty poor with all the compression artifacts, and these limitations are exposed by using two Apple Mac G5's to drive the system and two high resolution projectors to display it)

In addition to the videos updating in the gallery space, they also appear online at

The project also examines what it means to project very private space immediately surrounding the body into meta-space. Many of the videos show objects little more than a few centimeters beyond the tiny lens, often some body part, like hands or forearms that obscure an unknown, overexposed background space. Other pieces are gestural performances, recording the movements required when following a line, or when trying to create shapes by moving the camera in certain ways.

Traditional paintings are often created over a long period. This project is atomistic and performative. The bits (individual 15 second videos) pile up over time, and the composite, the themes, are the paintings - collections of idea streams, are captured in development, in process. This is a real time art piece, and so the themes are being worked out over the course of two months. The next iteration of this project will use different strategies and develop new themes.

At the end of this version I may end up with one or two or three pieces, and some fragments and discards, like sketches. "Pieces" may be collections of 4-12 short videos, which can be recombined in different ways.

mobile video artHow it works
Each video gets sent from the phone to three places: two go to computers in the exhibition space, one goes to

In the gallery are two Apple Macintosh Dual 2.7 gHz G5's and Two Dell 5100p projectors. All the major equipment was kindly provided as a loan for the exhibition. When a video is made on the mobile phone (a Motorola v710) it is sent to three email addresses. One of them is picked up by an email program (Eudora) and the video is placed into a folder where a folder script, written for this project by Jill Headen and Tim Klein, grabs it and plays it full screen, looping back and forth. It continues to loop until another video is placed in the folder. The second machine drives the upper projector and works in a similar manner, only it plays each video sent to date and plays them randomly once. Finally, the third email sends the video to where it is updated instantly. The site is built with Wordpress by Creative Arena and uses a special Quicktime plugin.

Basically I view all of this as a platform for creating and publishing/exhibiting spontaneous work on a mobile device. The system will grow and change over time. The next major iteration (mo.vid.2) will allow people to subscribe to the video pieces directly so that they arrive on their phones.

Future versions of mo.vid will allow individuals to "subscribe" directly to the mobile videos thereby creating a one-to-many publishing and distribution model. This idea is in line with the trajectory of all content industries which are in the irreversible process of bypassing established institutions and structures and developing the idea of freely distributed personal media: mobile, variable, interactive, automated.


Finally, the idea is to open up the gallery space, to tear down the walls through networks and software. All content industries are struggling with 20th century notions of content control. It's all about opening these up - allowing outside influence into the whitened sterility of the gallery and museum space, about making things change in there. It's about exhibiting uncertainty and the stops and starts of process.

I can post anything to the walls of the space. They must trust me.


The piece is part of a show called Moving Pictures at the Dallas Center for Contemporary Art that opens Friday November 4th. The basic idea is that some video can work in the way that painting works: as an object of intermittent contemplation, rather than media like television and film requiring dedicated, sequential viewing.

John Pomara and I co-curated the show and several of the artists are current or former students. There is a kind of critical mass of "video painters" coming out of UTD and our aim is to introduce this kind of work to the Dallas art community, as we think this is one of the strands that will define the future of art in the region. At the moment, no one is really sure what to do with it - how to exhibit, sell, or even talk about it. This show should help remedy that deficiency.


Posted by Dean Terry at October 30, 2005 03:58 PM

Great show Dean! I enjoyed it immensely. It's the only exhibition I've been to where at the end of the evening people went around turning off the art. =;-)

Posted by: Chester Campbell at November 7, 2005 10:11 AM

That show effected me.

Posted by: Tony Hune at December 12, 2005 02:20 AM




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