Live Shot: after John Lockwood is an interactive video installation created for Readymades in Spring 2015. One of the central aspects of a readymade as we have defined it in class is taking an object (whether physical or digital) and placing it in a new context to endow it with new meaning and affect. The piece is inspired by the odd case of Live Shot, a website founded in 2005 by John Lockwood to allow hunters to login remotely, control a motorized rifle via attached cameras, and kill live animals fenced-in on Lockwood’s property and baited into the line of camera vision when a hunter was online. Immediately after the site launched there was a massive backlash from a coalition of Animals Rights activists, the NRA, and hunting organizations, outraged by the allegedly inhuman nature of this form of hunting. 48 states passed legislation to ban remote/internet hunting. Lockwood responded by questioning whether it is different to sit camouflaged in a blind waiting with a mounted gun, then pull a trigger, than to sit in your home controlling a mounted gun, then click a mouse.
In this project I have combined found footage of hunting trips with plastic models of the animals that were killed, built into a custom diorama. A live video feed of the diorama is displayed on a remote screen using a webcam and Isadora software. Using a mouse, users can aim the camera (and attached miniature rifle) and “fire” with a mouse click. “Firing” triggers footage of the animals being shot as well as intimate moments where the hunters pose with and comment on their kills. This version of the installation will be presented in class this week. I’m also working with collaborators to make the project truly remote so that users could login via a website to control the camera, and hope to have this aspect of the installation in place by the show.