Erikson Sidewalk

Live Video and Sound, Light Installation
H 14' W 14' D 45'
05. 07. - 07. 31. 98
Erikson Building, Saga Gallery, Seattle, WA


The feet of pedestrians walking on First Avenue – which runs above the space of this installation – are seen live on two video monitors. The sound of the pedestrians' footsteps is transmitted live from the ceiling to the installation below.

Project Description

This installation is part of a final, collective exhibition entitled Encounter with Place in the John Erikson building, a 20th century structure in downtown Seattle scheduled for demolition. Erikson Sidewalk was installed within a cavity in the gallery showing the foundations of the First Avenue directly above.

Lights instruments with red gel are systematically placed to flood both the cavity and the building's foundations, which are made of vertical columns and diagonal braces. Two video monitors, one at each end of the cavity, frame the visual starting point of the installation. These are fed live from hidden, video cameras aimed at pedestrians walking on First Avenue above. Images of feet caught by the video cameras appear coming toward one monitor, disappear, and then reappear in the other monitor, and vice versa. The visitor's experience of watching feet disappearing from one monitor then reappearing in the other is completed by the live trampling sound of pedestrians transferring sound from the side walk above into the cavity and the installation below.

The manifestations of events at both visual and aural levels, move in circle within the space and the installation; for the viewer, they become signals of cohesive, intangible connections between interior and exterior space. Presented with the experience of seeing and being seen, the viewer further engages with the piece at a cognitive level, one that creates new conceptual and sensory structures, first as observed then as voyeur.

  • Pedro Alexander
  • Howard T. Howlett
  • Howard Meeks