- 2021

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 ‘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 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


- Dimensions (HxWxD): N/A
- Materials: Chipboard, Surveillance Camera System, TV Monitor, Bonfoton Camera Obscura Lens