renato colangelo & darren davison
|Camera Obscura from the Collection of Werner Nekes|
Installation with wood, steel and optical diopter
A camera obscura, from the Latin camera (room) obscura (dark), is literally a darkened room with a small hole in the wall or window covering. Daylight enters and the scene outside is projected onto the opposite interior wall. The projection is upside-down and back-to-front but nonetheless the action, colour and detail of the world outside is transformed into a moving, two-dimensional image. Embodying the pleasures of spectatorship and the manipulation of light to capture images, the camera obscura foreshadowed both the cinema and the still camera.
The particular properties of light as it passes through a small opening have been noted for centuries; the Greek philosopher Aristotle (384- 322 BC) described how light passing through an opening of a square or triangular shape always produced a circular image, while scholars in the thirteenth-century developed the concept to view eclipses and other solar events without damaging their eyes. By the mid sixteenth-century, a biconvex lens was placed in the hole, concentrating the light rays and producing a much clearer image. Further technical innovations included the use of mirrors and multiple lenses to project the image right-side-up, and a white screen to get the brightest image possible.
The camera obscura has been utilised for entertainment, scientific enquiry and artistic endeavour. Painters used portable versions to enable them to trace the subject of their work directly onto paper, simplifying the difficulties of accurately rendering perspective.
Renato Colangelo and Darren Davison's Standpoint is a large, walk-in camera obscura constructed on Federation Square, on the west side of ACMI, overlooking Flinders Street Station. By entering the light lock, visitors can see the hustle and bustle of Swanston Street in a spectacular nine metre wide inverted projection, and share the experience of seeing the world 'captured' that fascinated people five hundred years ago.
Fiona Trigg, ACMI
Renato Colangelo has studied at Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE, and at the Sydney College of the Arts. In 2002 he was awarded a Samstag International Scholarship. Colangelo is currently represented by Fotoikon and The Italian Institute of Photography. He has exhibited both in Australia and Italy. Darren Davison has twice been a finalist in the McClelland Contemporary Sculpture Survey & Award, in 2003 (with Matthew Cox), and in 2005, where he was the recipient of the Frankston City People's Choice Award. Exhibitions include: Now and Then in the Circle of Confusion, 69 Smith Street Gallery, Victoria (2004), Fringe, Salamanca Arts Centre, Tasmania (2000) and Enclosed, First Site Gallery, Victoria (1999). His work is held in the Elisabeth Murdoch Sculpture Foundation collection.
Artists' acknowledgements: Tony Mercury, design and construction assistance, supported by Federation Square