Fronting Motion exhibition at Upstream Gallery Amsterdam

Imagine yourself standing between two screens. Sound is all around you: you hear cars approaching, while from your back, you hear the sluggish blowing of a sea tanker horn sounds, distant gulls? Everywhere, you hear this other, constant noise. Is it the sea you hear or the sound of a highway? There is no way to distinguish other than by seeing or imagining because both are in E flat, as the Dutch poet Henk Ester claims*.
Meanwhile, on the front screen, the upbeat swelling of lights makes you want to get out of the way, while the horizontal scrolling bars behind you, combined with its meditating sound, keep you clamped to the ground. There’s no escape…

Between Sept 26 and Oct 24, 2020, Fronting Motion is part of Appearances, an online show on For this occasion, the two websites have been restored and are now running on archived data from 2014.

Kloveniersburgwal 95
1011 KB Amsterdam
The Netherlands
+31(0)20 – 428 428 4
Opening hours: Wednesdays through Saturdays, 13.00 – 18:00 and by appointment.

An internet based artwork by Esther Polak and Ivar van Bekkum
Sept 2020 restoration date of the project from May 1 2014 – 2017

Fronting Motion at Upstream Gallery, fotograaf Gert Jan van Rooij

Fronting Motion exhibited in Upstream Gallery Amsterdam

Fronting Motion at Upstream Gallery, Esther preparing

Esther building and preparing Fronting Motion in Upstream Gallery Amsterdam

Artistic Motivation
Knowing where you are (or where others are) is of significant importance with all different kinds of registration tech around us: GPS, smartphones, RFID, near field, ANPR, surveillance cameras, face and emotion recognition, Facebook, Foursquare, Hangouts, etc. The project addresses these changes in the techno society we as humans face now.



Experiencing the work in a gallery space
Experiencing the work at home

Practical description.
“Fronting Motion” consists of two screens and two stereo soundscapes facing each other. The work was originally (2014) based on two streams of live data: one coming from number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras along the A354, Dorchester-Weymouth, while the other stream did origin in the vessel tracking system around the Nearby Southampton harbor, both in the UK. Both data streams are translated into a surround sound stream and a corresponding visual stream. Each stream is broadcasted through its URL, which makes the piece technically very simple to present and flexible to any given space: it can be exhibited as black box installation for art spaces, but also on two combined screens of various sizes (computers, smartphones, pads, outdoor projection). Thus combined, the two streams create a multiphonic soundscape with two video screens: 1 screen plus stereo represents the traffic flow on land, the other screen plus stereo sound represents the traffic flow at sea.

Tech specs installation:

The installation consists of two websites shown together as a duo-screen installation, format flexible. The following condition must be met: the two projections (or screens) must be placed opposite each other so that visitors can find themselves in between. Four speakers must make the sound audible in stereo twice, coming from the correct direction for the screen in question. The work is available internationally for exhibition and other presentation formats.


– Sept 26- Oct 25 2020 Upstream Gallery in Amsterdam both online and on location as part of Appearances, curated by Josephine Bosma
-July 18 – August 16, 2014 University City Science Center’s Esther Klein Gallery. Open from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday-Saturday, 3600 Market Street Philadelphia. An opening reception is scheduled for Thursday, July 24 from 6 – 9 p.m.
-13 – 23 May 2014, Bridport Arts Centre, Dorset, UK (presentation on two screens with stereo sound)
-17 May 2014 Car(bon)Mart 10.30am – 2pm (hands on explanation on how to experience the project at home)
-Guildhall Square Southampton, Public Projection 13 – 15 June (presentation in two sea containers during „Internet of Cars” conference)

“Fronting Motion” has been realized in collaboration with:

Internet of Cars – A Distributed Exhibition
Produced by The Sixth Sense Transport, a EPRSC Energy / Digital Economy funded project.[/vimeo]The presentation at John Hansard Gallery; Southampton; UK as part of Internet of Cars

Directors from 6ST for Internet of Cars:
Dr Tom Cherrett, Transportation Research Group, University of Southampton;
Dr Chris Speed, Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh;
Consultant Curator and Project Manager Helen Sloan, Director, SCAN for providing us with the AIS data of ships passing Southampton harbor; Stokroos Fund Netherlands for additional funding.

Arno Peeters, sound
Peter Robinett, coding
Arjan Scherpenisse coding and 2020 update.


Fronting Motion at Esther Klein Gallery in Philadelphia in 2014

Visual of the concept of Fronting Motion, 2013