Pedestrian is a public artwork that projects its imagery directly down onto a city sidewalk or concrete floor. Pedestrian’s digital projection merges with the rough surfaces we walk upon: the tiny denizens we see down there wander through a trompe l’oeil illusion in a city that seems to float both upon and within that surface.
Pedestrian is entirely synthetic, though the naive observer happening upon it in the city may at first take it for live video. But in fact all of the figures are 3D models, and all of their movements derive from a large library of motion-capture data that were extensively re-edited and sequenced for each of its scene. The artwork runs in a seamless 13 minute loop. It does not tell a single story, but rather suggests multiple narratives and possibilities. This often leads its audience to guess at possible storylines, and even to spirited discussions between strangers about what it all means.
A virtual camera is placed over this world; from this aerial position, it tracks the activity below and moves across the simulated city. The foley soundtrack, created by Terry Pender, is synced to the on-screen movements but also evokes a wider world beyond the frame.
The Pedestrian process is not finished until viewers encounter it in public spaces. Their presence around the piece completes its composition and expands its meaning unexpectedly.
At Rockefeller Center
Originally conceived as an homage to New York City, especially in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, Pedestrian was first presented at four locations in New York City: outdoors at Rockefeller Center and Harlem’s 125th Street, and indoors in an underground passageway to the subway and at the Eyebeam gallery.
However, it has proved remarkably adaptable to other settings, having toured almost continuously since its creation. This has led to striking juxtapositions, as it has been projected on medieval cobblestone in England and Belgium, on the glistening floor of a bus station in Seoul, inside a vacant storefront in Boston, and so on.