Pentimento is a computer based interactive video installation utilizing an innovative vision based movement detection system developed by the computer scientist Andre Bernhardt. The story recreates events leading up to the discovery of a decomposed and unidentified body on the outskirts of Sydney. Following the discovery, a brother and sister, who are incestuously involved with each other, are arrested. They accuse each other of murdering their father.

The installation takes the form of an octagonal room. Each of the four walls in this octagon operate as an independent screen and acoustic system. Pentimento works in a manner similar to an interactive jigsaw puzzle, somewhat in the tradition of the computer puzzle Tetris. There are a number of narrative layers and points of view within the layers. To begin with, in the first narrative layer there are two versions of both the brother and the sister, twins in a sense, a guilty brother and an innocent brother, a guilty sister and an innocent sister. In the second narrative layer there is a guilty father and an innocent father along with the Room itself, which has its own perverse view of the proceedings. All the points of view are equally credible.

The installation walls operate either independently or in synchrony, depending on the viewers’ movements. If viewers restrict their movements to a series of stationery points within the room they are able to activate the first layer of narrative, for example either the innocent brother’s or innocent sister’s point of view. If viewers maintain a constant movement through the space they are able to activate, in addition to the first narrative layer, a second layer of viewpoints, namely the father’s and that of the room. Narrative in Pentimento becomes a complex interplay of these contending points of view and forms of interaction, a voyage in search of a point of stillness in a sea of perplexing and fluctuating possibilities.

ARC InvestigatorsDennis Del Favero, Jeffrey Shaw, Ian Howard
Project Director: Dennis Del Favero
Project Funding: ARC X00001590, Australia Council for the Arts
Interactive Video Installation

  • IMAGINING MEDIA@ZKM, ZKM Center for Art & Media, Karlsruhe, 2009-10
  • Fantasmi, Sprengel Museum, Hannover, 2006
  • New Acquisitions, ZKM Center for Art & Media, Karlsruhe, 2005
  • Ivan Dougherty Gallery, Sydney, 2004
  • Galerie Andreas Binder, Munich, 2003
  • Future Cinema, Kiasma, Helsinki; ICC (InterCommunicationsCentre), Tokyo; and ZKM Media Theatre, Karlsruhe, 2003
  • Selected Works from the ACMI Collection, Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Melbourne, 2003
  • Mori Gallery, Sydney, 2002
  • Galerie Andreas Binder, Munich, 2001
  • (dis) LOCATIONS, Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Melbourne, 2001

Director, Producer and Designer: Dennis Del Favero

Application Programmer: André Bernhardt

Writer: Stephen Sewell

Composer: Brett Dean

Sound Design: Tony MacGregor

Sound Engineer: John Jacobs

Stylist and Designer: Karla Urizar

Voice-overs: Lenka Kripac, Matthew Edgerton, James Marshall Napier, Peter Kowitz, Tony MacGregor

Actors: Hollie Berrie, Andrew Dalton, Thor Thorsen

Compositing: Greg Ferris

Produced with the assistance of Cinemedia’s Digital Media Fund, Victoria, Australia

Funded by:

Australia Council for the Arts

Australian Research Council International Grant: iiC_inema

College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales.