Jennifer Steinkamp and Jimmy Johnson: Loop
Loop is a site-specific visual art and music installation in the Corcoran’s rotunda by internationally known media artist Jennifer Steinkamp and renowned electronic composer Jimmy Johnson. The piece was commissioned in 2000 for Media/Metaphor, the Corcoran’s 46th Biennial Exhibition, which took as its theme the complex relationships between painting and media arts. Steinkamp and Johnson’s special brand of transformative art interacted with both the building and its visitors, making the installation a centerpiece of the exhibition. Now an important part of the Corcoran’s permanent collection, Loop will be on view from March 15 to April 20, 2014.
Using the architectural qualities of the Corcoran’s neoclassical-style rotunda, Steinkamp and Johnson situated electronic visual and aural patterns that dematerialize the space and accentuate its details. Upon entering into Loop, the viewer is surrounded by rows of multicolored digital rope, lifting and undulating, seemingly blown from anchors at the base of the high ceiling. Passing through the projections, visitors cast shadows on the walls and become a multi-colored three-dimensional moving abstractions, the resulting environment is interactive, immersive, and hypnotic, challenging preconceptions about the relationship between people and their environments.
To create Loop, Steinkamp used a Silicon Graphics workstation—the same type of computer used at the time by Hollywood animators—to “paint” her striking colors and shapes that dance around the rotunda. Johnson then created music that plays along with the moving images.