Be now here, 1995  2002

Michael Naimark

(Re)Presenting Place

Date 4/29/02

Affiliation Media Artist, San Francisco


Much of the history of representation has concentrated on conveying sense of place. One prominent historical strand is from murals and landscape painting, to panoramas and cycloramas, to wide-screen and 3D cinema. Another strand is from travel writing, to telegraph and radio, to telephone and television. These two strands are converging around the technologies of immersive "virtual reality" and the Internet. With our increasing understanding of psychophysics and cognition, many believe that the dictum "just like being there" may finally be fulfilled. But place runs deep: we "know" we are "here." This knowledge is cultural and political as well as technical and perceptual. It's also deeply personal. Placing cameras everywhere and building 3D computer models have their implications, and it's no surprise that technological enthusiasts and social critics hold differing (and often uninformed) perspectives. The arts community can play an important role both as bridge-builder and provocateur.

Naimark will present his past and current projects in this context. He has "movie mapped" Aspen from the street, Paris from the sidewalk, San Francisco from the air, Karlsruhe from the rail, and Banff from hiking trails, and has filmed panoramic experiments in Jerusalem, Dubrovnik, Angkor, and Timbuktu. He is currently working with webcams and the Internet.


Michael Naimark has been exploring place representation and its consequences for 25 years. He has worked extensively with field cinematography, interactive systems, and immersive projection, and has been a longtime member of the Society for Visual Anthropology. After receiving an undergraduate degree in cybernetic systems, Naimark spent the late 1970s at MIT and was on the original design team for the Media Lab. In the 1980s he was an independent media artist making artworks for the Paris Metro, the Exploratorium, the ZKM, and the Banff Centre, and consulting for companies including Atari, Lucasfilm, Apple and Panavision. In the 1990s he held a research appointment in arts and media at Interval Research Corporation. Last year his 3D interactive installation "Be Now Here" was exhibited as a unique collaboration between the San Francisco Film Festival and SFMOMA. Naimark is currently in-residence at the Institute of Advanced Media Arts and Sciences in Japan and an advisor for the Media Lab Europe in Ireland.

-- As of 4/29/02

Updated Bio

-- As of 1/10/07

Related Links