You Were In My Dream

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July 23 ‐ November 30, 2014

Van Sowerwine and Isobel Knowles

Isobel Knowles & Van Sowerwine, "You Were In My Dream" (2010). Interactive installation with stop-motion animation, audio. Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff Centre. Image courtesy the artists. An Experimenta Commission.

Isobel Knowles & Van Sowerwine, "You Were In My Dream" (2010). Interactive installation with stop-motion animation, audio. Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff Centre. Image courtesy the artists. An Experimenta Commission.

You Were In My Dream is an interactive storytelling installation by Australian artists Isobel Knowles and Van Sowerwine. The user is invited to explore a digital world in which they become a character within a fairytale-like narrative. While many of the scenes and characters which the user encounters would be at home in a contemporary children’s book, the situations they are asked to navigate are often fraught with tragic outcomes. This darker tone refers to an earlier era, when children’s fairytales frequently offered reflections on grown up themes of morality.

The user encounters the small booth that is embedded with a screen. There is an external screen that allows viewers to watch other users interact with the work. The user’s face is captured by a camera and is then superimposed on one of the characters in the video. The user is then able to navigate through the fairytale world with the use of a computer mouse. This interactive video is made with stop-motion animation techniques, where a hand-cut paper object is physically manipulated and photographed many times to appear animated. Intricately cut paper is constructed into densely detailed scenes, giving the work a sense of tactility and a childlike quality that mirrors the narrative arc of the video. Stop-motion techniques have been used since the turn of the 20th century, a trajectory that is divergent in contrast to the use of digital technologies that allow for the user to literally embed themselves in the story and choose their own adventure.

Interactive installation with stop-motion animation, audio programming: Touch My Pixel; Carpentry: Duncan Jack; Sound Design: James Cecil; Booth design concept: Tin & Ed and Isobel Knowles.

An Experimenta Commission that is presented by Walter Phillips Gallery at Banff Centre.