Outnumbered, a brief history of imposture

mixed media installation, Technical realisation: Gert Aertsen (lahaag.org), construction: Ian Ghyselinck, programming: Jan Willem de Haan, narration: Richard Wells, photo by Kristof Vrancken, 2009

Outnumbered, a Brief History of Imposture is an installation based around a found panoramic school photo from 1936. The installation is in two parts. The first is a video projection which uses a pan-and-scan effect of a kind often used in documentary films to animate the still photograph. The accompanying sound track presents a continually changing fictional narrative which is partly computer-generated. As the camera pans from one face to another in the school photo, an authoritative-sounding voice names the individuals and explains their mutual relationships. The software randomly selects these names and relationships from a database of 999 biographies of historic “imposters”, people who have some kind of connection with forgers or forgery. The second part of the installation displays the mechanism used to generate the pan-and-scan video image. The photo is mounted in a computer-actuated mechanism that slides it past the camera lens to produce the animated effect.