Let us imagine a straight line (2009)

Six installations for sound, custom instruments, & moving image

Interactive system design, video, sound, and hardware by Butch Rovan
Movement by Ami Shulman

Click on the image below to play an overview video.

Commissioned by the Cogut Center for the Humanities, Brown University. Additional support from the Richard B. Salomon Faculty Research Award and The Lighting Science Group.


Let us imagine a straight line is an interactive work about movement, the first installment in my ongoing project for dancer, video, music, and live electronics called Studies in Movement. I take these titles from two French thinkers of the late 19th century: physiologist Etienne-Jules Marey and philosopher Henri Bergson. Marey conceived the apparatus for the modern scientific study of movement. He invented instruments to measure human and animal locomotion—a beating heart, a bird in flight—and developed technologies that eventually led to the modern cinema. Bergson responded to these advances with a philosophy that rethought the relation between space and time, matter and memory, physical and psychical movement.

The counterpoint of Bergson’s thought and Marey’s vision suggests a drama about the power and limits of human perception. Let us imagine a straight line invites participants to experience the difference between their two ways of seeing.

The full work features six different installations, which can be displayed in different combinations. They include:

On the details page I describe all six pieces, shown at the inaugural exhibition for the Cogut Center for the Humanities, Brown University, in 2009.


Exhibitions & Screenings

Let us imagine a straight line has been seen by thousands of viewers during showings in the U.S., Poland, and Australia.

2011 WRO 14th Media Art Biennale, Wroclaw, Poland, May – June.
         ISEA2011 International Symposium on Electronic Art, Istanbul (online gallery).
2010 International Computer Music Conference, Stony Brook, NY, June.
         Expanded Architecture International Film Night, Sydney, Australia, November
         Sydney Architecture Festival [documentation video only].
2009 Cogut Center for the Humanities, Brown University, October – November.

For additional video documentation see details page.