Cluster: A Generative Video Portrait, 2006 – Ongoing

Cluster, an artwork by Lincoln Schatz creates a generative video art portrait of a specific place and period of time. Over the course of eight years video is recorded and saved to the memory of the artwork. The artwork saves video files each day. At times, hundreds of video files might be recording in a day. However, not every video remains with the artwork. At the end of each day the computer saves a small set of video recordings. The computer removes the rest forever.

a single screen mounted on the wall sits in front of viewers in a darkened room, the screen displays Cluster, a generative video art portrait by Lincoln Schatz
Cluster Installed: Brussels

Here on screen, a generative video portrait with saturated colors ebb and flow, shifting in and out of focus. Each layer of video overlaps and layers on top of the next. Seemingly, these videos merge together, creating unclear boundaries between days, weeks, months and years. Organic geometries, cut out of time, layer on top of one another. From these processes creating a document of time that is constantly in flux. Crisp and vibrant, Cluster creates a new reality. Here reality is compressed into one plane.

Cluster, A Generative Video Art Portrait

cluster, a generative video art portrait by Lincoln Schatz is installed vertically in an art gallery booth in London's PULSE art fair
Cluster installed: PULSE London

Unlike traditional portraiture, this video art portrait is both generative and interactive. It encourages the viewer to engage with both the artwork and the space around it. Moreover, Cluster works to activate the room. In the final artwork, Cluster is constantly storing, recalling and displaying video via a series of algorithms and chance operations. The viewer’s interaction with the work causes it to evolve and grow. Without living subjects, the artwork grows dormant. Because of this, the viewers and by extension the room, become the materials used to create Cluster.

Cluster builds on the foundations of earlier generative video portraits such as Schatz’s Stitch, while creating greater complexity in behavior and memory through advances in computer technology.