Watchers are two ambient light sculptures concerned with the rhythmic nature of television light and how it is used to seduce and compel the viewer into a kind of hypnotic and passive inaction.
Detection of movement has been at the core of our survival, and ironically, it creates an embalmed behavior that allows easy seduction by the rapid flashing movement of television light. Indeed, the edge of the eye to the retina is primarily sensitive to movement.
These works are not concerned with the media images per se but how producers can affect our behavior with rapid-fire cuts, frenetic dark light patterning, and sequences of complementary colors.
Paul Virilio’s notions seem apropos here as the medium is no doubt designed to infect rather than inform. So the medium joins with vestiges of our perceptual being to seduce our vision system.
The forms incorporate rewired TVs and are roughly based on the structures of the human eye. The TVs are encased in forms that project the TV light onto parabolic lenses, accentuating this light while removing the images.
One piece uses black and white and one a color TV. The rounded eyeball form is outside the loop of seeing and is meant to imply that perception occurs, but accurate understanding does not.
This work is emblematic of Marshall McLuhan’s notion that the medium is the massage/message.
It is not what we see but how we see it that determines the power of any medium.
Here one element of the medium’s power is removed and distilled from its “content” to point to its ability to manipulate the body and its perceptual systems.
(2.5 feet wide by 2.5 feet deep by 2.75 feet high)
ARTEMESIA GALLERY Chicago, Illinois. Aug. 1999
Watchers, sculptural installation. Also performed with custom-made musical instruments, Chairello, Telephone Tone Machine, and Prepared Tape Machine. The performance of the experimental music group, SACCADIA.
ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO Chicago, Illinois. Sep. 1997
International Society of Electronic Arts. Displayed two works from the Watchers series – rhythmic light sculptures.