Nibia and the Ludic Component


Session Title:

  • Interactivity and Art

Presentation Title:

  • Nibia and the Ludic Component




  • Nibia Sabalsagaray (1949- 974) was a twenty-four years old Uruguayan literature teacher and social activist, tortured and killed in captivity at the beginning of the last military dictatorship (1973-1985) in Uruguay.  Although the Military Justice categorized this crime as a suicide by hanging, in November 8, 2010, two military (Dalmao and Chialanza) were indicted as responsible for the murder. As of January 2011, both military are in the process of appealing the sentence.

    In this paper we are presenting an interactive installation that questions the relationship between (Uruguayan) society and the recent past, through recontextualization and redefinitions of a particular, locally well-known, image.  The work consists of a small room, dark, with black walls, with only one entrance, blinded by double black curtains.  Hanging towards the end of the room, there is a projection of the locally very known picture of Sabalsagaray, in black and white. Two meters ahead of the projection, there is a wooden stool with a standard lighter on top of it.  If the user decides to take the lighter and lights it, the picture in the area corresponding to the position of the lighter begins to burn, disappearing, becoming black.  But it is impossible to burn it completely: a short time after a zone is burnt, it is reconstructed, allowing the image to reappear, which never fades completely.  The relationship between the spectator and the image is drastically resignified, by making explicit the underlying interaction between the graphic representation and its consumption.  By allowing to try to burn the image, it is not only said that there are always people who burn it (and in a way –perhaps distant– we all are), but also that the perception of any cultural phenomenon cannot be apolitical.

    This installation, in spite of being explicitly interactive and engaging for its users, it is not perceived as a video game of sorts, but instead induces to the reflection and awe.  We propose that this occurs thanks to a combination of factors: the density of the message, the natural interaction, and the aesthetic setup.

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