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Feedback Loop

Justin Lincoln’s interactive video installation at Squeaky Wheel

Playing games with technology is a lot of what they do at Squeaky Wheel. How else are you going to find out what the technology is capable of? As well as some of the physics behind it? And ultimately discover/invent new and better technology?

A current instance is Justin Lincoln’s project, called Feedback Loop, an interactive video installation that poses questions about language as well as technology. Like what do we mean by the term “feedback”?

Correction, I think. But correction would be step two. The discover/invent step. (Maybe correction is moral feedback.)

Technological feedback is more just information, data, but self-replicating data. Which translates to infinite regression. The “loop” part of the whole term.

A hall of mirrors. But surprisingly, in the interactive video, not instantaneous as to the replication (replications). More like an echo. Or multi-car train starting up.

You sit facing the camera. Behind you is a video monitor display of what the camera sees, that is, you, and the monitor display of you, so in infinite regression. (A small monitor in front of you, but behind the camera—so not in the loop—lets you view the main monitor display.)

To check that the image is live—and make it move—you wave. And the sequence of images wave back, sequentially. One after the other.

You don’t expect the delay. You expect the speed of light. What you get is more like speed of sound. Technology takes time. This technology, anyway.

And like an echo in that the sequence fades. In the distance. In time. Or seems to. (Or maybe not. Maybe an echo continues forever. Attenuating forever.) You think about infinity.

The Justin Lincoln project continues through August 23.

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