Timetracks is a work where video images that show passage of time are printed on slips of paper. Generally, it is difficult to print video as it is because printing devices have narrow bandwidths compared to video devices. In this work, a part of each video frame is arranged chronologically to form a print image, which is then continually printed on a rolled paper. Timetracks is the general term for the system and the output results. In addition, Timetracks Live mini is also produced as a device for real-time processing and output. Timetracks.app is a realtime image generator on a portable device which lacks a printing function but realizes an on-demand creation/appreciation.
Timetracks is a printing device used to generate and print still images from a given video. There are three methods that can be utilized to obtain printed image from video. First is the line scanning method wherein a one pixel wide horizontal or vertical line is extracted from the image. Second is the compression method wherein the entire image is reduced to the width of just one or up to several pixels. Third is the long exposure method wherein each pixel is accumulated from video frames numbering just a few or up to a few dozen.
Using a video file stored on the hard disk, Timetracks selects and aligns the appropriate processes to determine the final image, after which it prints. While one hour of original material would be a lot, there is no limit to how long it could be. The printed material differs on the processing method and the rolled paper used, but in many cases it is 89m wide and 5 to 10 meters long. The printed output can be affixed to the wall or placed on a shelf as it is. It can also be displayed rolled up in the shape of a scroll.
On the other hand, the live version of Timetracks, Timetracks Live mini, sequentially processes and prints video taken from by a video camera embedded on the front of the device. With an auto cutter mounted to the printer, Timetracks Live mini cuts the printouts from the rolled paper into strips of paper. The paper strips are 89mm by 210mm and they are printed every three minutes with the date and time taken. Therefore, one could get 20 prints per hour, or 120 prints for a six-hour exhibition. These paper strips stack on a shelf set up under the device.
Furthermore, the audience as a user of a portable device, can generate a realtime image and appreciate it with Timetracks.app. This application stores one line image per one second through the internal camera and the whole image is 30 minutes long, 1,800 lines. The generating image is always viewable and scrollable on the touch screen.
Both Timetracks and Timetracks Live mini are works that print on rolled paper still images from the video. However, video is a moving image that expresses the passage of time, and must be replayed only under the same time at which it was filmed.
Therefore, within this work constant processing procedures are followed change the video into still images and prints them. In short, this work transforms the incorporeal video onto tangible slips of paper, which can be touched by the hand and can suffer discoloration and damage.
Obviously, this transfer is irreversible and bandwidth decreases significantly. However through this transformation, the tabulation of events and elicitation of the temporal change become possible, as well as the ability to view video images from a different perspective. In other words, time and events are being reconstructed based on constant methods, wherein information from video is extracted and a timeline is expanded over a plane surface. Further, there will be new models and designs in output that emerge, and it will become possible to discover various features that are not apparent in the original video.
Although, the input for this work is video, the output is printed material; the traditional form of still image, which can be framed and hung on the wall. It can be said this is a rare form of video art and video installation as opposed to the many that use displays or projectors for output.
Another feature of Timetracks Live mini prints large volumes in near real-time but there is no identical content in among the prints. In addition, the prints generated by Timetracks Live mini are intended to be taken home by the audience and are in a form whereby many people can own a non-duplicated artwork at little cost.
Moreover, Timetracks.app acts on the palm of the audience's hand, which is big departure from traditional exhibition styles. Because this application is provided free of charge and runs on a general-purpose popular device, many people can not only appreciate the work but also take part in creating it. Thus the content of the work is transferred to the audience and the author just provides a processing method of the image generation. I am very interested in the results that would come out of such a situation.
Timetracks Live mini
TIME MACHINE :: Masayuki Akamatsu Solo Exhitition
Date: March 6th - 21st, 2005
Timetracks Live :: TAKEAWAY Festival
Date: March 29th - 31st, 2006
Date: February 17th, 2008