InVisible Light

2016

 
 A photograph of the infrared display. I'd love to show you what it looks like in person, but that's tricky to capture.

A photograph of the infrared display. I'd love to show you what it looks like in person, but that's tricky to capture.

 
 

Artwork Statement

We take photographs to capture items through our cameras, but we often forget that the photograph and the item itself are different. "Look at my dog," we say, pointing at the phone, without realizing that we are not showing a dog, but a photo of it.  

The display uses infrared LEDs, invisible to the naked eye, but visible through most phone cameras. This forces the viewer to pull out a camera to get the full experience, highlighting how cameras have come to mediate all of our experiences.

Only once the viewer pulls out her phone, does she realize that she is also being videoed, and that the infrared LEDs display her movements. The work asks us to grapple with the superpowers technology gives us, like seeing infrared light, and how those superpowers affect us. The feedback loop happens almost instantaneously: the phone changes how the viewer sees the work, the work reflects the viewer’s actions and the viewer modulates her actions in response.

The work is a microcosm of our digital lives. We use our phones, and other technologies, to gain more powers. At first these powers seem free, but quickly we realize the cost of being watched. Then it’s too late, we cannot opt out, in order to see the information we have to be videoed.

Artist Statement

We have an obsessive desire to capture moments and experiences exactly as they happen. However, no matter how hard we try, it's impossible to tease apart the content from its medium and record our exact experience. Marshall McLuhan described this best with the expression, "the medium is the message." The medium fundamentally affects the content transmitted.

I try to create work that sits in between media to draw attention to the role of the medium in transmitting the work. My goal is to make work that cannot be faithfully reproduced in any one medium since recording cannot capture the entirety of the work. I want the viewer to consider how technology creates a virtual layer on the world.

Technology uses an elaborate system of smoke and mirrors to construct a seemingly perfect facade and fade into the background of our lives. I like using these same techniques to highlight the many subtle cracks in its facade which reminds us its there.