(This has been sitting in my drafts for a bit)
Smile for the Camera
At first it was sketched out as a basic idea and made in illustrator, Smile for the Camera is a project I made with the intent of being a type of message where you either had to look close or take a second look just to spot it. A very basic idea was where it stemmed from and up until the point where I finished the first illustration then thought, why can’t we do this in strips of paper instead, it had been. The change in the concept occurred after conversing with my friend Alan who had started to talk about how privacy was a status based concept made by society so that we could separate those who had power or a stable income and those who didn’t. The further we step forwards in time, the more we start noticing the invasive stares of those in a higher position, the invasion of privacy that takes different positions and forms, as technology advances, so do these methods, from the time of eaves dropping on conversations, opening letters, and intercepting telegraphs to wiretapping phones, satellite images, and browsing through someone’s files and internet history. Two days before doing the Culture Jam itself and printing out a sheet of a single eye, then thinking, it’s not exactly subtle nor is it invasive enough.
After a bit more editing, copy pasting and placing, I had 3 sheets filled with eyes ready to be cut into strips and distributed into public spaces where people looked. The repetition of the eyes represent that we aren’t just being watched by one thing, one figure, one anything, we’re really being watched by multiple individuals of all sorts in one way or another and regardless of what we do, that action is processed, or lack of action is processed, internalized and provides a mental output of what to think of it, or to do about it if the action is outrageous enough. That we aren’t just being watched by machines. We’re being watched by other people too. We’re being watched by people who watch us through machines.
The eye isn’t wide open because it’s not particularly evident that we’re being watched in that manner, most people don’t openly stare at you and judge and internalize you, it’s subtle, it seems subtle, it’s curved up to mock close its eye but still watching.
Added Part after the Initial part:
I went to see the sites where I placed my works one day, most of them were gone, which wasn’t a surprise. What was a surprise was that by chance I saw someone hold it in between a book they had been reading and continue to read it, it was a little ironic rather than shoving aside the invasion of privacy they took it home and commodified it. Which says quite a bit about how an initial idea can evolve into a new concept.
Perhaps in the future I’ll make something like this again in the form of a common object for people to take home.