YOU ARE HERE
There is something surprisingly charming about the simplicity of a camera-obscura.
We might assume that elements related
both to the workings of our own sight, coordinated between the eye and the brain, and the recording
of images inside a camera - light, shape, colour, perspective, etc - correspond with a whole swathe of unimaginably complex processes beyond our reasonable
field of understanding. And yet, the phenomenon of a camera-obscura is amongst
the most effective and simple tools enabling us to not only comprehend but
actually experience how a camera works, as here we can physically enter inside
one. We can see with our own eyes how light travels in straight lines,
infiltrating inside a room and organising against its surfaces, by
passing through an aperture and then filling an interior space with a
projection of the outside world. Down is up and up is down inside what Mozi, an early Chinese philosopher in
the first known record of a camera-obscura, circa 470BCE, described as the
From a place of both safety and
privacy, we can observe a small portion of life existing within the city and,
all too easily, become mesmerised by it.
ARE HERE is a camera-obscura installation piece designed for the
exhibition relay It May Sound Utopian at DISKURS Berlin in 2021. This installation was on display between May 27th and June 9th. Throughout the duration of the exhibition, the
doors to the gallery remained closed and visitors were instead
forced to engage with the installation through the windows of the gallery only, thereby
positioning themselves within the artwork when standing in front of the lens. The title of the installation acts as
both a guide and a cold fact. When observing the projection made by the camera-obscura we are reminded
that, undoubtedly, we are here and nowhere else.
As we continue to experience this changing and precarious ‘new normal’ as a result of the
COVID-19 crisis, with so many truths and knowns under new scrutiny and with
an increasing amount of our interactions now taking place on
the surface of a digital screen, perhaps modest tools are needed most in order to
remind us where we truly are.
You are here, of course.
- YOU ARE HERE, DISKURS Berlin, 2021