Kenneth Saintonge

Title: “Portal”

Art Proposal:

This proposal will discuss a new media art installation that investigates what we see as familiar in regards to our environment and ourselves through a discourse made up on memories and experiences. What makes a place or thing familiar to us? How does this connection define ourselves?

After spending about half of my life in Windham CT, I have moved to Denton TX. This experience of transplanting caused me to start to rebuild everything that I had left behind. I noticed as I started to adapt to my new home, that there were similarities between where I was and where I had come from. These similarities helped my transition, old memories acted like seeds in building new ones. I started to think about how the individual defines what a place is. The individual’s interaction with the people and places defines their relationship to one another. It is this relationship that is physical, social, and mental that defines familiarity.

Investigating how we react to the uncanny and how that unfamiliar can be made familiar by connecting two towns. I plan to find similar looking locations in both towns, transporting the residents to the alternate location via a “mirror”. An example of this would be; both Windham and Denton, each have Victorian courthouse in or near the center of town. I plan to set up a T.V. screen that would act like a mirror reflecting the courthouse. Instead of this mirror image, a camera will capture the image of the opposite town and display it on the screen. This will hopefully attract the attention of the local residences as they pass by, questioning what at a glance seems familiar.

This live feed will get the passersby to interact will one another over that great distance. I am looking into expanding the interactive capabilities. A couple options that I will be looking into will be what kinds of interactions can be encouraged, audio, text, other visual representations. Upon this projects approval I will seek the assistance of “The Factory” (a multimedia makerspace) at the University of North Texas (UNT) for technical issues. I would hope to enlist the assistance of a similar entity if one exists at Eastern Connecticut State University (ECSU). In addition, the interaction of the installation’s viewers could take one an anthropological perspective somehow building ethnographic art. This highly interests me,I will investigate how to do this further with the Anthropological department at UNT that I am now part of as a masters student.

I think this installation has the potential to be more than a work of new media art by connecting not only the towns of Windham and Denton, but their art communities, their universities and the students and faculty. There is limitless opportunity to how this interdisciplinary installation can grow.