“Surface Tension” by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer

The video shown above is an interactive installation by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer where a eye is seen following the audience as they walk past it. The eye on the screen is very large, giant compared to the viewer looking at it, as the human eye is so small this makes the relationship between the audience and the work very strange and surreal, as though this large being is watching them through a peep hole.

The work is based on a reading of Georges Bataille’s text The Solar Anus during the first Gulf War and the first wide-spread deployment of camera-guided “intelligent bombs”. The work can also be related to todays use of surveillance cameras which can recognise your face and store it. We live in a world where we are under constant watch, the installation by Lozano-Hemmer portrays this by using a human eye, making the watchfulness of his work very real and daunting. Imagine if all the surveillance cameras weren’t machines but were recreations of humans eyes watching us, because they look like cameras I think it can be easy to forget that there’s someone behind a computer watching.

In my own work I thought that if I had more time and a bigger budget this sort of installation would really add to my work. I however would perhaps prefer to have lots of these and all much smaller, I am more interested in the eye images being a similar size to our own. I want the audience to have to get close to the work to demonstrate the sort of closeness I had to get to my sitters when I was taking the pictures rather than it being one giant omniscient eye watching over them. In a sense by having the eyes small and less noticeable it would make the fact they’re following the movements of the viewer even more creepy as they wouldn’t be as aware it was happening until they noticed. In  way this makes it more an invasion of privacy than the giant eye.

 

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