San Francisco Art Hotel Installs First 24/7 Room Camera

Revealing Exposure of 21st Century Promised by Conceptual Artist Jonathon Keats

SAN FRANCISCO, July 27 /PRNewswire/ — Setting a new precedent in hospitality, Hotel des Arts in downtown San Francisco has commissioned conceptual artist Jonathon Keats to fit a 4th floor hotel room with a custom- built low-light camera. Other amenities include a king-size bed, a mini- fridge, and a clock-radio.

The camera, which Mr. Keats has engineered in solid brass, and for which he has designed a special film, is set to take a single exposure of 100 years duration, beginning on August 3, 2005 and ending on August 3, 2105. During that period, an estimated 12,000 couples will pass through the room, but Mr. Keats isn’t interested in any of them. “People are incidental,” he says. “Eventually they all die. And I don’t have any interest in taking portraits. What I’m trying to document is history, in order to get a picture of time itself.”

Mr. Keats calls his camera a continuous time capsule, and has chosen a hundred-year span in order to capture time in abundance — in greater quantity, as it happens, than has ever before been photographed. “If time is all around us, why don’t we ordinarily see it on film?” he asks. “Why do we see only its secondary effects? I suspect it’s a signal-to-noise issue. It might be that short periods of time are too miniscule to be visible.”

Asked why he chose to run this experiment in a double-occupancy San Francisco hotel room, Mr. Keats explains that Hotel des Arts just happened to be the first place that gave him an enclosed working space for his project, and 100 years in which to pursue it. Curator John Doffing, who has commissioned original artwork for many rooms in Hotel des Arts, confirms Mr. Keats’s claim. “I said he could do whatever he wanted,” Mr. Doffing says. “And he did.”

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