Rotationally symmetric world

Posted 25/02/15 by Naren Wilks

Share this page

I am obsessed with rotational symmetry, and am therefore obsessed with roundness. An object with rotational symmetry will look the same after a certain amount of rotation, and in my short film Collide-O-Scope, I sought to explore how applying a rotationally symmetric multi-camera setup could describe the combined perspectives of man running around a square room, supposedly interacting with clones of himself. The finished film, a kind of experimental silent comedy, picked up 10 film festival awards, and compelled me to explore the idea further, with an interactive installation, a second short film and two music videos.

Collide-O-Scope LIVE was commissioned by The Public in West Bromwich, and for three successful years, allowed visitors to explore the idea of a rotationally symmetric world for themselves. Four CCTV cameras, mounted in each corner of a square room which participants could enter, each sent a feed to a video mixer which blended the footage in real-time and then displayed the composited view on a monitor. Participants saw a description of their four ‘clones’ in a rotationally symmetric arrangement, in which they could run around or even through each other.

I am obsessed with rotational symmetry, and am therefore obsessed with roundness.


In 2013 I sought to push the boundaries of what I could achieve with my technique, by using a circular room which offered an infinite number of points of rotational symmetry; using a round space allowed me to use as many cameras as I could afford, in as many configurations as I could dream up. Fear & Delight, a music video for The Correspondents, presented a view of up to 28 synchronised multiples of performer Mr.Bruce as he danced and sang. Brass Attack, shot in the same circular set, used human response to form a kaleidoscopic visualisation of the music, by multiplying five people in colourful clothes who manically danced and jumped around the space. Using the round room for a third time, One Man Eight Cameras concluded a year’s work with a final short silent comedy, in which a man desperately tries to fit in as many experiments in his rotationally symmetric world as he can within a two and a half minute timeframe.

See the videos here:

Fear & Delight
One Man Eight Cameras
Brass Attack