I see you see
A Showcase of some of the work of New York based Artist
Nina Sobell. An artist who has been working with surveillance technology
since the 1970's
Two-Way Mirror(camera as gun) 1978 Battersea; In and
Out the Window 1979 Los Angeles; Six Moving Cameras, Six Converging Views
1981-82 NY/ LA are also included.
These works continue my exploration of the condition of surveillance.
Camera as Gun Battersea 1978
is only accessible at the
following link, but KISSS related.
Videophone Voyeur 1977- Acme Gallery London/NWAA Manchester,
a meditation on the relationship of surveiller and surveilled: an investigation
of both interpersonal communication and the physiology of perception mediated
by video THAT frames the voluntary surveillance relationship of viewer,
viewed and the technology that binds them. Artist and passerby interact
without direct contact, via live video feed. The content they create for
the monitor is their only point of "contact".
Communicating through this new extension of themselves, they enter a heightened
state of awareness which is the fundamental condition of surveillance,
whether shared (voluntary) or imposed (involuntary).
1977 Videophone Voyeur Triptych London
A passerby may have chosen to talk to me while I was sitting in the street
level window of the Acme Gallery, sitting at a 45-degree angle, through
a videophone, or enter the gallery, and observe me in the window via a
closed-circuit monitor. The window activity is screened-off from the gallery.
Closed-circuit split- screen monitors in the window, one facing the street
and another facing the person in the window, displays an image of each
of them. Communication is mediated through the closed-circuit videophone
system, and observable inside the gallery. Spatial boundaries dissolve,
as the exterior sidewalk space merges with the interior window space,
and separate by establishing a voyeuristic space in the rear of the gallery.
I was the only one in the window. There were two split screen live feed
monitors, one facing me and the other facing passersby with a telephone
on the ledge that they could pick up and talk with me. A microphone and
a speaker were positioned near me in the front window, so I could hear
them and respond. This possibility of engagement with the public was screened
off and isolated from the interior of the gallery beyond the front window
activity. Those who wished to observe the situation before engaging with
me could listen to conversations and observe the interaction on a single
closed circuit monitor placed on a plinth in the rear of the gallery with
a spotlight overhead
1977 Videophone Voyeur Triptych Manchester II
In Manchester, no special effects generators were available, so two live
feed monitors were placed side by side in the front window that was again
screened off from the rest of the gallery. One monitor faced me as I sat
on a 45-degree angle away from the window, as in the London installation,
displaying the passerby's image. Another monitor faced out to them displaying
an image of me. Inside the gallery, there were two closed circuit monitors
on plinths placed side by side, at the same height as my self-portraits
that were on exhibition in the gallery. The monitors framed the people
in the front window and myself as live portraits, becoming part of the
portrait show. At one point, someone asked me if I'd mind if they sat
where I was. I was interested in the dynamics of the transition from artist
to public control of my work, and letting the piece Passersby could see
the person the window sitting at a 45-degree angle on a closed-circuit
monitor facing the street. A closed-circuit monitor faced the person in
the window. A videophone facsimile facilitated communication, if desired.
The front window was screened- off from the interior of the gallery. One
saw the person in the window and the person on the street via closed circuit
monitors of each and was able to listen to the conversation, and could
decide whether to go out and speak or become the person in the window.
1978 Videophone Voyeur Triptych London III
Occupying the back third of the gallery, arranged in an arc were three
monitors, the third was a closed-circuit monitor. I was behind the third
monitor, sitting at a card table in the far right corner playing Solitaire.
A spotlight and closed- circuit camera was focused on the cards seen in
the third monitor. As one approached the installation, I could not be
seen. One had to move to the right of the second monitor to observe me.
The first two monitors were playing back the interaction that occurred
in the Videophone Voyeur installations in London and Manchester. Since,
I gave control of the piece to participants, playing solitaire symbolized
my disconnection from the installation. The talking heads from both cities
seemed to be answering each other's questions completely independent of