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 the 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 ‘treasure house’.
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.
YOU ARE HERE is a camera-obscura installation piece designed for the exhibition relay It May Sound Utopian at DISKURS Berlin. This installation will be exhibited from May 27th at DISKURS Berlin for two weeks. Throughout the duration of the exhibition, the doors to the gallery will remain closed and viewers will instead be forced to engage with the installation through the windows of the gallery only, thereby positioning themselves within the artwork. 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 all continue to live through this unfamiliar and precarious period of time as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, when so many truths and knowns are under new scrutiny and with an increasing amount of our experiences and 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.