A Life in a Camera (2023)

Graduation work
cctv cameras, crt tvs, laser projector, cyanotype textiles, cctv lenses

Exhibited at KABK Graduation show 2023, HONK! ArtScience Preview Show, CASS x Rewire, CASS#1

a Life in a Camera consists of a laser projector installed at a 7m height, 10 surveillance cameras, 10 wall-mounted CRT TVs, and 10 cyanotype prints ontextiles. The laser shines at the cameras, the output of the latter displayed on the TVs.

Behind every camera lens, there is a device called image sensor. It is the “eye“ of a camera, translating the amount of light into electronic signals fordisplay. But there’s more to it - these sensors can also accumulate dust and microorganisms, resulting in patterns crystalized on the sensor’s surface. By shooting the laser’s high-powered beam straight into the camera’s sensor, the patterns become visible on the TVs. This media-archeological approach to surveillance cameras aims to excavate what’s inside them, unveiling thattheir internal mechanisms carry a past, a trace of their years of watchful vigilance. The audience faces a Material Witness, concept developed by artist-researcher Susan Schuppli to define matter that carries within both the means of recording and the evidence itself.

The installation takes a step further by experimenting with materializations of these patterns on different mediums. Given the history of surveillance and its relation to photography, I have chosen cyanotype - an early photographic technique in which a coated surface reacts to ultraviolet light. Moreover, the same laser used to shine light onto these patterns is then used to print on textile pieces shown on the wall.

This work aims to probe the insides of surveillance cameras, to crack open their “black box”. To allow their metallic shell burst at the right moment, to touch and let be touched by the camera’s fragility. What follows is an exploration of the physicality of non-human vision and its further affect on the audience’s eyes when looking through the CRT.

Image credits: Ira Grünberger and Aaryan Sinha


             Further documentation

A Life in a Camera teaser video

A Life in a Camera at the KABK Graduation Show 2023
A Life in a Camera at HONK! ArtScience Preview Show