Project Author: Raimond Reimers (IJsfontein) and Saskia van Kampen (Boijmans van Beuningen)
Production year: 2014
Executive producer: Museum Boijmans van Beuningen en IJsfontein
Director: Raimond Reimers
Camera: Jurriaan van Schalken
Editor: Jurriaan van Schalken
Author of the script: Raimond Reimers
Musical composer: Erik Hense
In Constant Motion - Richard Serra's Waxing Arcs
Richard Serra’s (San Francisco 1939) site-specific artwork ‘Waxing Arcs’ has stood since October 1980 at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. Since the perception of space was essential, Serra made arrangements with the museum that nothing but the work itself should stand in the same room. The museum, however, has never adhered to this agreement. In close collaboration with the museum, IJsfontein has developed a 13-minute multimedia presentation that combines audio, projections, historical material and poetic artwork. With a circle of light as guide, visitors walk through time and space and literally experience how the work of art has changed over the course of a long and fickle love affair.
In Constant Motion – Richard Serra’s Waxing Arcs
This 13-minute multimedia presentation is made with the most respect for the artwork itself. We created a ‘transparent’ guide which offers the public a whole new view on this often misunderstood work of art. The immersive presentation seamlessly interacts with the artwork and space around it and tells a story that normally would have remained hidden.
‘Waxing Arcs’ is probably one of the museum’s best-known works. Visible from the street, it is an unmissable colossus in the entrance area. Serra’s underlying idea for this imposing work was that the public would experience the space differently as they walk through or past it, in part because of how the arcs are positioned within the space. The loose self-contained steel walls are identical in shape and length, although you would expect otherwise at first sight, because of the way the arcs are positioned in in the room.
Transparency in data and technique
Since the perception of space was essential, Serra made arrangements with the museum that nothing but the work itself should stand in the same room. The museum, however, has never adhered to this agreement. Other exhibits, the museum entrance, a cafe and even a shop next to the arcs have filled the room at some point in time. The museum dove into the archives and did extensive research into this history. This research has been made accessible in a multimedia presentation which tells a self-critical story about the museum and how they have treated this work of art. An innovative and daring way of making existing information about art and cultural heritage more transparant.
In order to tell the story well it was important that, for the first time in history, nothing other than theartwork itself would stand in the room. For this reasonwe used highly innovative techniques that enabled us to tell a rich story with no visible devices. The user isguided through time and space by animations and projections on the floor. For example, at the beginning of the presentation, a “wall” is projected on the floor to experience the artwork in a time when the space was much smaller. You then follow the projected steps on the floor to the next point in time when the room was bigger. Moments later, you follow the footsteps along proj
ected cafe tables. This way, you literally experience how the perception on the artwork changed by the change of the space.
More than 50 projectors were used, each equipped with a mini-computer, a Raspberry Pi. A central master computer controls all Raspberry Pi’s so the projectors show one animation with a huge resolution, synchronized with all the sound, light and automatic dimming.