Local Report 2012 is an international media and telecommunications piece by Robert Whitman for which 90 people in 90 cities used smartphones to transmit video and verbal descriptions of the scenes around them. With images projected onto large screens and voices woven together by the artist, the performance resulted in an installation that Whitman calls “a cultural map of the world.”
Local Report 2012 is the latest version of a concept Whitman originated in 1972. Then, “reporters” throughout New York City made calls via pay phone to describe their surroundings, and the resulting reports were broadcast on a local radio station.
Over the years, the performances moved from pay phones to cell phones, to video cell phones coupled with the internet. Though the scope is now international, the title of the new work is Local Report 2012. “Through the speed of communication and travel, local has become global, and global has become local,” explains Whitman.
The Local Report 2012 video and sound installation was created on October 11, during an hour-long presentation at New York City’s Eyebeam Art + Technology Center. Reports were transmitted from cities across the globe, including Phnom Pen, Houston, Singapore, Karachi, London and Bogota.
During the event, reporters made two calls to the performance area, using a smartphone application specially designed for the project by Shawn Van Every. The first call transmitted a 20-second video clip of a participant’s surroundings, while the second relayed a brief verbal description of their environs. As soon as videos were received, they were projected onto large screens stationed inside Eyebeam. Concurrently, Whitman listened and then broadcast the voice calls via loud speakers.
Local Report 2012’s video and sound were simultaneously broacast to three remote viewing sites, including Stanford Institute for Creativity and the Arts, in California; The School of Art at George Mason University, in Virginia; and Le Consortium in Dijon, in France.
The Local Report 2012 multichannel audio and video installation is on view at Eyebeam until October 20.
For more information: www.creativetime.org/projects/local-report
Coordinating Producer: Julie Martin
Technical Director/Software Developer: Shawn Van Every
Sound Installation: Patrick Heilman
iOS Application Developer: Jaron Moore
Graphic Designer: Karen Van Every
Robert Whitman’s Local Report 2012 is made possible by The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Pace, and Lord & Taylor. Special Thanks to Dia Art Foundation.