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Video Delay is a fine art!

"Now, Then, Later 2011" by Alison Thomson


Talented art student Alison Thomson had set herself a huge challenge. As an ambitious video artist working on her Final Year project, she needed to delay live video by up to 20 seconds but didn’t know if this was possible. 


Alison, who is in her third year of a Fine Art Degree at the prestigious Central Saint Martins College of Art in London, explained “I had been in touch with various media departments, along with several video artists and production companies. It was the general consensus of all concerned that the only way to digitally achieve my requirements would be through using television-broadcasting equipment, which was a financial, and logistic, impossibility.  After searching for what seems to be forever, I came across the DelayLine on Ovation Systems’ website and found it was what I had been desperately looking for”.   


Alison's project involves running a live feed from a video camera to a projector that is projecting the footage onto a rear projection screen. The video camera is filming spectators through a two-way mirror but also registering the projection screen behind which translates into a sort of feedback effect. The viewer will see their image, real time in the mirror but projected image maybe up to 20 seconds later.  

Alison's current practice is influenced by pioneers in live video/screen work in the 70’s (specifically Dan Graham, Bruce Nauman, Peter Campus and ‘Gillette and Schneider’). She became interested in working with live-feed video to screen as a method of alerting the viewer to their individual perception of ‘self’ within a controlled space as the ‘screen subject’.


Alison goes on to explain "Undeniably, any artwork proffering the seductive glow of an illuminated screen will make you look and can run the risk of fostering ‘passive perception’. However, by adopting this approach I was attempting to reverse the contemplative mode of the traditional observation of art by inviting the viewer to look closer as he or she is literally ‘in the picture'. In ‘Now, Then, Later’, through the intervention of the delayed video feedback, the viewer is presented with not only a mirror image of themselves but, additionally, multiple versions of themselves in continuous ‘pasts’. This raises questions regarding the complexities of the spectator’s relationship to their image. Not only do they become psychologically self-conscious of themselves as a body which is a perceiving subject, but they also become aware of experiencing themselves through time in a constantly shifting process".


UK Sales Manager, Gordon Moore said “We get lots of interesting enquiries for DelayLine, but I thought Ali’s requirement was particularly innovative and ambitious. I’m delighted that she found us and that she will be using DelayLine in her Degree Project”.


Other examples of Alison’s work can be found on her website



"Now, Then, Later 2011" using DelayLine, a two way mirror and video projector




DelayLine is a cost-effective delay system that can hold up to 2 minutes of video and audio within its internal solid-state memory.  DelayLine is ideal for applications where a constantly recycling video buffer is required such as action replay, pre-event buffer and synchronising video and audio feeds. It has been used in many diverse applications such as sports coaching, video art, museum exhibits and profanity protection of broadcast feeds.

For more information on DelayLine click here



Photos and video clip are courtesy of Alison Thomson


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