Mediamatic Off-Line Vol. 11#1 Geert-Jan Strengholt 1 Jan 2003


Joes Koppers

It would certainly have escaped the notice of the average car-driver, diving into the tunnel at full speed. But anyone crawling past the Mediamatic Supermarket during the evening rush hour very probably had to blink his eyes a little.

Windows by Joes Koppers apparently shows an ordinary exhibition private view behind three ‘windows’, a snack, a drink…. But then, for a brief moment, that image is unhinged as one of the windows focuses on a visitor and follows her through the space. The window breaks away from its fixed position; it even transgresses onto the frames of the other windows, and then settles itself down again. For a moment, the trompe-l’oeil is revealed for what it really is: an optical illusion, a manipulated projection of an earlier recording.

The associations around Windows obtrude in rapid tempo, the triptych, the trompe-l’oeil… Or the split screen technique from films of the 70s, recently rediscovered in TV series such as 24 to illustrate simultaneity. The title, however, that Joes Koppers gives to his project refers to a far less prosaic connotation, namely that of the windows in the famous computer operating system.

Windows is therefore an extrapolation of a long-running fascination with browsers in general, and browser windows in particular. Browsers render and determine insight into information present locally in the computer or on a network. They are far from neutral or transparent and give an extremely selective image of a digital domain, formed by the technique of the browser. They determine how we look at data and the route we may follow through the data available. In ongoing research, Joes Koppers tries to unravel this by breaching well known browser conventions.

A number of recent experiments may be seen on , focussing on the (browser) window. The point of departure for these projects is the question what would happen if the window became a ‘real window’, and gave a picture of what lies underneath/behind it. The first project on the site has a striking resemblance to Windows. A triptych of windows shows one image together. Nothing unusual at first sight, except that the windows do not behave as you expect them to. When one of the windows is ‘picked up’ and dragged, it turns out to be only a transparent frame over a screen filling picture. The window does not react to the data any more, but has become dependent on its position and the behaviour of the user.

In Windows, the near real-life variant of this online project, the opposite actually happens. Here real windows, through video editing and projection, obtain their own individual behaviour that could not exist in reality. They actively determine what is to be seen and lose their transparency and innocence.

Translation: Helen-Anne Ross