[Japanese Version]

The scene at the TIME MACHINE Exhibitio

Display device

Automatic rotation surveillance camera

Video display of specific time

Simultaneous display of multiple times

Setting the display time through the control

Surveillance and display continue night and day


The Watchplate is work wherein surveillance camera footage is accumulated and as the footage for a given time is retrieved, the footage for various other times is also lined up for viewing. Surveillance cameras automatically rotate and constantly capture the situation in the surrounding area, switching to infrared video at night. Depending on a number of conditions, video is typically recorded from one week to one month at a time.


The filming device for The Watchplate is a video camera equipped with an automatic rotation mechanism and an infrared night-vision function, the footage for which is constantly being saved. Video footage is continuously being replayed, whether from the time the audience indicates, or from randomly changing times when there is no audience.

The display device is a plasma display that is set face-up, which gives an impression that it is a big plate sitting on the stand. This plate is the analogy of a flat and single-layered video frame, which also makes the display and images on the screen appear like plates.

The video displayed is imprinted with the time of recording, and repeatedly switches from the full screen display of video from a certain time to multiple thumbnails of videos taken at different times. All images are drawn on plates that float in virtual three-dimensional space and continuously move and rotate languidly.

The audience can set the time of the video shown by turning a small dial controller. By setting the time to a few seconds before, the audience can see themselves, or they can see what happened in the same place a few minutes, hours, or days before.

In simultaneous mode where different times are displayed at once as thumbnails, the footage before and after the specified time is displayed, but the interval of time between these scenes gradually widens. Seeing video from various times arranged together gives the audience the sense of perceiving all phenomena.


The Watchplate is essentially just a surveillance camera, and the video recording and playback device. Both global surveillance systems and personal surveillance methods have pervaded, meanwhile there are many people who are compliant to this kind of surveillance. Setting aside the question of right and wrong in this kind of situation, the first priority of The Watchplate is to give a frank account of the surveillance situation.

Yet it remains insufficient to simply expose surveillance cameras and video monitors. What is important is that surveillance video is accumulated, and that it is easy to retrieve footage from any particular time. The reason being is that allowing scenes from previous days to be instantly recalled imprints the audience with the force of surveillance video the superiority of the observer.

Therefore, through this work the meaning of unbiased voluminously accumulated video deepens in meaning as the audience simply enjoys the surveillance video. It is possible this might expand to the global surveillance situation, but undoubtedly it is linked to considering where we stand in contemporary society.

Finally, this is work is continually recording and replaying surveillance video, regardless of the time of day or whether the audience is present. At night, the pale screen shines in the dark lifeless hall. Day breaks, and once again the lifeless scene is brought back. Perhaps it is just these scenes that are appropriate for this work.

Reference: Opticon, performance through surveillance cameras and teleconferencing mobile phones.


  • Computer Apple / PowerMac G5/2GHz Dual w/400GB HD
  • Plazma Display Pioneer / PDP-502MX
  • Video Camera Telstar / TR-80C
  • Automatic Rotating Unit TUD-1
  • Video Digitizer Sony / DVMC-DA1
  • Controller Griffin Technology / PowerMate
  • Development Environment Cycling'74 / Max/MSP/Jitter
  • Setup stand: Specially manufactured


Masayuki Akamatsu Solo Exhibition - TIME MACHINE

Date: 2005 March 6 (Sun) - 21 (Mon)
Venue: Gallery MSSOHKAN (2-1-3 Aotani, Nada, Kobe, 657-0805)