looking awry

ongoing research since 2010

 

The project is a study on the potential of ́looking awry ́ i.e. to be cross-eyed, to not look straightforwardly at an object as a complication of the seeing process and a technique of looking. The aim is to use this deflective technique as a method to research vision and visuality. The trope of visual evidence is be the main focus of the research.
As more and more art projects are research-based and involved in the collection and exposure of undisclosed, disputed, classified or covert materials, a lot of possibly relevant yet disturbing or harmful images are produced in the realm of art. What happens when visual evidence of cruel or unjust acts are shown, what happens in the act of viewing or witnessing such images? The project wants to examine where responsibilities and agencies are established in this process. It also wants to look at the impact of recent technologies for creating new forms of visual evidence like in forensics.
Looking awry examines the border zones of visual material to get a more complex understanding of their properties and the contexts, forces and agents surrounding these images. The project combines theoretical and practical approaches in research with a focus on trans-disciplinary interaction with visual events and with people engaged in the field. Site visits, the development of performative propositions, and the creation of a working group will be elements of this project. Looking awry as a technique serves as the prime research method.

 

published texts:

The Geometry of a Cross-Eyed Subject published in Index – Artistic research, thought and education, #0, Barcelona, Autumn 2010

Parallax published in Grain Vapor Ray: Textures of the Anthropocene, published by MIT Press 2014

Disco Parallax first published in e-flux journal #61 January 2015

A Crossing published as the fifth in the series of Artist Op-Eds, The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis 2015

 

demonstrations:

looking awry – geometry of a cross-eyed subject

Demonstration at Edition Special #0 Laboratoire d’Aubervilliers, Paris 2011

The demonstration is based on the text The Geometry of a Cross-Eyed Subject published in Index – Artistic research, thought and education, #0, Barcelona, Autumn 2010. It reconstructs a visual disruption that I experienced while watching something that my eyes could not handle. During a screening of “Henchman’s Glance” a disturbing historical visual document compiled by Chris Marker – where he combined Alain Resnais’ Film “Nuit et Brouillard” with footage of Adolf Eichmann during the trial in Jerusalem- something strange happened to my eyesight. A hole gaped in the middle of my field of vision and I could only look at the margins of the screen basically becoming cross-eyed. What seemed a defect at first, emerges as a very special technique of looking if examined closer. Why would one feel the need to avoid a visual event? What happens in the margins of an image?

The demonstration takes the shape of a geometrical reconstruction of the screening of Henchman’s glance. It minutely reconstructs the axes of the gazes that occur between the viewer, the mass murderer on the screen, the projector and the camera. It traces the geometries and their theoretical coordinates not only in order to understand what had happened to my eyesight but also to share some of the problems of the role of the witness in visual events where they are caught in between powerlessly watching and looking away. Looking awry is proposed as a third way, as an enabling of the witness and as a practice of discourse.