An amazing video installation created by recent Camberwell graduate Peter Hudson will be staring back at you from the windows of the Wellcome Trust’s central London headquarters this summer. ‘Eye Contact’ will occupy the windows of the Gibbs Building on Euston Road for the next year.
The artwork consists of over 650 coloured pixels, lit by over 16,000 LEDs. It uses real footage of the eyes of 68 volunteers staff from the Wellcome Trust and changes over time, displaying the idiosyncrasies of each individual’s gaze. The eyes will be ‘awake’ and active through the day and will close at sunset to ‘sleep’ through the night. Unless, that is, they are woken by a passing pedestrian.
Peter Hudson, says:
Through this installation, I’m exploring how the digital screen mediates the way we consume images and how the emotional content is affected. Eyes are both a symbol of perception and an instantly recognisable human feature, so by presenting them through a heavily pixellated video display, I’m challenging the usually fluid process of recognition. The pixellation leaves enough detail that regular viewers of the installation, such as commuters, should be able to identify the same participants’ eyes recurring throughout the year.
The piece was inspired by themes drawn from Wellcome Trust research in neuroscience and perception, and challenges the viewer to consider how our reliance on digital screens has changed the way we interact with images and each other. Close up, the pixels are an abstract mosaic of flickering colours and light, but viewed as a whole the image resolves and a pair of eyes gazing out from the window.
‘Eye Contact’ is the second winning entry from a competition run by the Wellcome Trust in 2014 for students at the University of the Arts London. The first winning piece, ‘View’, by artist and fellow Camberwell graduate Phoebe Argent, was displayed in the window last year.
Clare Matterson, Director of Culture & Society at the Wellcome Trust, says:
The collaboration between the Wellcome Trust and University of the Arts London has provided a unique platform for talented young artists to draw inspiration from the research areas of image perception, memory and neuroscience supported by the Trust. Peter Hudson’s installation is an arresting piece of art, which challenges us to re-assess our own powers of perception.
The Wellcome Trust Windows Commission is curated by Sigune Hamann, artist and Reader at University of the Arts London and was launched in autumn 2012 as a new platform of collaboration and practise at the meeting point of art, design and science. The project, entitled ‘The changing perception of images’ was initiated and as an opportunity for students from all levels and disciplines at Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon Colleges of Arts to provoke fresh thinking on aspects of image perception, to engage passers-by and to act as a high-profile showcase for the students’ creativity and new approaches to image research.
More about Peter Hudson on his website
Find out more about studying at Camberwell College of Arts on our course pages.
Images thanks to Wellcome Library, London.