Interview with Maya Da-Rin, resident artist at LABoral

Interview with the artist Maya Da-Rin on her work "Horizonte de sucesos #Camuflage" on show at "Elastic Reality".

Published: Apr 21, 2013
Interview with Maya Da-Rin, resident artist at LABoral

Maya Da-Rin in fabLAB Asturias

By Semíramis González (@semiramis_glez)
Semíramis en Babilonia.

We interviewed Maya Da-Rin, an artist presenting her work Event Horizon #Camouflage" in the exhibition Elastic Reality and asked her how she conceived the creation of this work and how she has been working on it during her residency at LABoral.

What is Event Horizon #Camouflage"?
It is a walk through a woods in the Botanical Gardens of Gijón, filmed by cameras that are piloted by my spatial coordinates. As I move I relay my position to the satellites flying over the woods and these, in turn, transmit the coordinates to three cameras positioned around the site where I take the walk. The cameras move in the direction of each new coordinate, attempting to keep me in the centre of the image despite the vegetation maze. The landscape is transformed into a testing ground, a space for play and interaction among these different bodies in constant movement. Despite the apparent objectivity of the system, the resulting images are erratic, labyrinthine, alternating between spatial location and the loss of reference, localisation and concealment.

Is it a critical look at the current technological control system?
In #Camuflage we encounter a tension which is produced in the images as the cameras follow a body and brusquely move in its direction as it receives each coordinate. We have the feeling that something is on the verge of happening although there is no extraordinary action at that time. Surveillance devices are systems which were created to capture the extraordinary and not the ordinary. What is interesting, though, is that what we largely see in the images produced by these devices are common, banal actions. Nonetheless, they are waiting for something to happen at any moment and the images end up creating a tension by themselves. This is the principle behind thriller and horror films: we believe something is about to come and wait in a state of alert; this is a fiction tool used to generate a state of tension and fear in the spectator.


The idea of surveillance and punishment, where you place yourself as an active subject under surveillance is interesting - is there a performatic intention in the process?
It is indeed a performatic action, but I prefer to see it as a walk. It all begins with a very simply motive: to set out on a stroll, move around a space and let yourself be contaminated by it. The space is not a smooth surface, it is made up of a series of connections, some visible, others not.  We are exposed to all of these flows and the walk ultimately makes this clear. I´m interested in the idea of how the simple movement of walking is capable of constructing a narrative, of creating visual, sound and mental images - a way we get in touch with what surrounds us.

Photo: Marcos Morilla

You define the project as a walk, installation and even a drawing. Is it a multiplicity of mediums that are reflected in this wander through nature?
While I was carrying it out, I gradually realised the different dimensions associated with the project and the configurations that were opening out from the process. It is a tour and also a system where different bodies move synchronously, connected by an intangible network of data flux. These connection lines between me, the satellites and the cameras form a provisional drawing in the landscape that will last as long as the walking time. The images and sound resulting from this experience are presented in an installation in which the three videos are projected side by side creating a panoramic image. In the installation, the repetitive movement of working in circles, split up into three different angles, creates a fragmentation of the space and a labyrinthine choreography between these bodies in constant movement.

The first part of the project was carried out at Le Fresnoy – how did the idea come about?
The project is part of research that I started in 2011 with the installation Event Horizon, produced while I was studying at Le Fresnoy. In Event Horizon, I cross the city of Marseilles from its highest point, a hill, to the lowest point, the sea. A camera positioned at the top of the hill accompanies my route, navigated by my spatial coordinates as in #Camuflage. The idea initially arose from something very remote. I became interested in the history of the astrophysicist Karl Schwarzschild, who while serving as an artillery lieutenant in the First World War discovered the area that delimits the black holes, an immaterial region of no return, known today as the event horizon. I began to read about this and to work on the basis of the ideas that those readings suggested to me.  I´m not exactly sure how, but the research process led to this series of works.

What continuity or contribution did your residency at LABoral provide? How did you complete the piece in the botanical garden?
I was interested in the idea of taking the walks in different spaces and perceiving how each geographical area could influence the dynamics of the work. LABoral invited me to make an on-site version of the project. This has been an opportunity to carry on with the research work, to experiment with new configurations in another space. During the residency I have worked with the LABoral team on constructing the device. We have done everything within the centre itself: we built the camera rotation systems and we created software to convert the coordinates and transmit them to the engines guiding the cameras.

What difficulties did you encounter?

The major difficulty is the precision of the system.  GPS is a technology created by the American Defence Department for military purposes. It was made available for civilian use in 1996 but with an inaccuracy margin of 10 metres, thereby guaranteeing accuracy to the American army. In #Camuflage, this inaccuracy margin is part of the project; it is what generates the response, at times erratic, of the cameras. However, everything else in the device needs to be very precise so that the inherent imprecision of the GPS does not interfere with the nature of the images.

Is it a closed project or one that is in constant creation?
I see it as research with different stages in a longer process of experimentation.

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