Thesis Info

Thesis Title
Light Attack
Daniel Sauter
2nd Author
3rd Author
Number of Pages
University of California Los Angeles
Thesis Supervisor
Erkki Huhtamo
Supervisor e-mail
Other Supervisor(s)
Christian Moeller, Norman Klein, Benjamin Bratton, Joachim Sauter
Language(s) of Thesis
Department / Discipline
Design | Media Arts
Languages Familiar to Author
English, German
URL where full thesis can be found
projection, mobility, urban space, Los Angeles, Media Art.
Abstract: 200-500 words
Light Attack is a public artwork and social experiment in the urban sphere of Los Angeles. While driving though space, a virtual character is projected onto the cityscape of L.A. exploring three places “to go” and three places “not to go” in the city (according to the popular Lonely Planet travel guide). Light Attack introduces the concept of the “moving moving image,” projecting moving imagery based on speed and context while moving through the stereotyped neighborhoods of Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, downtown L.A., Watts, and Compton. Customized software organizes short video loops from a database into seamless movie sequences based on the car’s speed, merging the virtual character with the city. The character’s actions in the architectural context, the responses of the passersby, and demographic characteristics of the neighborhoods are condensed in a gallery installation, which consists of a photographic sculpture, a panoramic video projection, and a documentation video. The photographic sculpture can be seen as a fingerprint of the city, with its shape derived from GPS recordings while driving through the neighborhoods. While the documentation video focuses on people’s reactions to the public intervention, the panoramic projection, as the centerpiece of the installation, shows the virtual character interacting with the city, visually reconstructing the cityscape while moving along the projection surface. “Projection”, the embraced visual medium of contemporary media art, is the central medium within Light Attack. The project suggests “projection” to be an emergent ubiquitous medium that raises questions about property and privacy. How public is public space? How do authorities deal with this question? How is projection, as it becomes increasingly powerful and inexpensive, changing the environment we live in? Light Attack deals with assumptions and stereotypes on different layers. One layer has been derived from the Lonely Planet’s popular L.A. travel guide, the methodological foundation for the choice of the neighborhoods of Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, downtown L.A., Watts, and Compton. Another layer is deduced from demographics defined within the PRIZM segments, which allow access to information about consumer habits and life styles for every ZIP code in the U.S. This information is juxtaposed with the visual material, allowing the audience to challenge their own presumptions about those places. Hence, Light Attack wishes to portray the spatial and socio-economic realities of human life in Los Angeles.