site specific, public artwork
lcd screens, security cameras, computer, multi-display controller | continuous
Above and Below, was a public art project located in Correction Wynd tunnel, beneath Union Street, one of the main thoroughfares in Aberdeen. In the tunnel 4 LCD screens are fixed overhead, facing the ground. As pedestrians pass through the tunnel they can look up to see images on the screens above them. Each of the 4 screens are masked so that they appear to the viewers beneath as circles - like portholes/portals to the world above. The images on these screens are live video signals relayed from two security cameras looking down on Union Street above. These cameras give a fixed, bird's-eye view, of a section of the pavement on Union Street and so the pedestrians passing through the Correction Wynd tunnel experience the dislocating effect of looking up to see views looking down upon the street which is above them.
The tunnel is 22m long, just over 6m wide and used primarily by pedestrians. It connects the historic area of 'The Green' to the important commerce area around the Kirk of St Nicholas. The Green is one of the oldest parts of Aberdeen and, being adjacent to both one of the towns gates and the harbour, was an important point of entry to the city from the 14th century. Correction Wynd runs north from The Green under Union St and along the eastern boundary wall of the Kirkyard of Saint Nicholas which has been used as a place of worship and a burial site for at least 900 years. The Wynd connects to Union St via a flight of granite steps and connects to the Saint Nicholas shopping centre at its northern end.
The bird's-eye view from the cameras relays a particular perspective to the, ‘portholes’, below - what is seen are the tops of people heads as they pass along the street above, armfuls of shopping bulging at their sides, buggies pushed, trolleys pulled, heads bobbing and turning in conversation, outstretched palms clutching glowing screens, and blocks of moving colour as umbrellas and hoods are raised against the rain. Stationary figures wait for friends, patiently shuffling from foot to foot, couples meander, toddlers charge, groups part and reform as the space of the pavement is navigated, contended and negotiated.
The, 'live', video signal has a 2 minute delay imposed upon it to intensify the sense of dislocation and allow a greater possibility for interaction with the work. So, a person could pass underneath the cameras on Union St and then descend to Correction Wynd only to look up and see an image of themselves on Union St a few minutes earlier. This also opened up the work to playful interactions between groups of friends playing and interacting with and within the urban space of the street above and the tunnel below.