Rhumb Lines is a multi-channel interactive video installation created by artist Barbara Keating. It started life on the River Tyne in North East England.

Floating along in a dreamlike world you will be invited to search for other boats you can “transfer” to, and be taken to visit the stormy skies of old paintings of the Tyne.

Why Rumb Line ?

Here what Wikipedia says http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhumb_line

In navigation, a rhumb line (or loxodrome) is a line crossing all meridians of longitude at the same angle, i.e. a path derived from a defined initial bearing. That is, upon taking an initial bearing, one proceeds along the same bearing, without changing the direction as measured relative to true north.”

The logical effect would be to travel in a spiral as the globe is round.

The links on the left show you some visuals.

The collaborators:

Barbara Keating, James McAleer and Sam Keating shot digital film using Red One,  from several vessels and lighthouses, day and night.


How we filmed

Sam Keating adapted software, and used an Arduino with a standard, rather old but serviceable, handheld Garmin GPS device, connected to a follow focus attached to James’ Red One camera. In the shots leaving the river we applied reverse zoom, and panned and tilted to  keep the piers at the river mouth in the centre of the frame. A dead straight course,to the eye in the manner of the rhumb line of the project’s title.

Normally things get bigger as you approach them, and smaller if you zoom away from them. By doing both at the same time we make it look as though we are not getting nearer to our object, although we can see that we are moving over water and are passing buildings. The GPS is recording tracks,  elevation speed etc.


The installation

We are currently developing software so that viewers can navigate the video

streams. A map of the riverbed made from sonar scan data sits on an interactive

screenThe GPS tracks from the filmed journeys are overlaid onto it. Audience members can scroll the image, and when they find a GPS track they will trigger the video corresponding to that journey to be shown on a second screen. They are invited to search for frames of video graded to look like historical paintings of the area.

The work can be created on any river on the world.