Shelley Eshkar, Paul Kaiser: Arrival

  • ©2005, Shelley Eshkar and Paul Kaiser





Creation Year:



    multimedia installation


    12 feet by 8 feet or larger


Artist Statement:

    Arrival (2004) is a companion piece to an earlier public artwork by Shelley Eshkar and Paul Kaiser: Pedestrian (2001). As in the earlier
    work, Arrival is meticulously constructed from human actions recorded by advanced motion-capture technology, in which the movement but not the appearance of the actor is preserved. The movements are mapped onto synthetic 30 characters, which are then choreographed in an intricate 30 environment. Where Pedestrian was a meditation on crowd movement in public spaces, Arrival reflects on the patterns of individuals moving in an ambiguous interior space that evokes an office, an apartment building, a mall, and an airport, and the synthetic worlds of video games. The piece presents viewers with not only a spatial, but also a temporal puzzle, for while half the figures move forward in time, the others move in reverse; and since the piece loops perfectly, it has no beginning or end. The relationships between the figures and their actions are complex and hard to decode, as they carry and exchange briefcases, edit surveillance videotapes, draw maps, write texts, answer phone calls, steal and photocopy pages, burrow below, and clamber above . The work demands close scrutiny of the kind one imagines a detective devoting to surveillance footage: playing, pausing, and rewinding. It forms a disturbing mirror to the networked surveillance systems that are forming not only at our borders, but also in our minds.