Installation, 2013

Joanna Hopkins (IE)

What We See is an interactive, multimedia installation that consists of an LCD screen with the front interior polarising filter removed, rendering the information on the screen invisible. Masked by the backlight of the monitor, it appears as a blank white screen. This extracted filter is cut up and placed in a pair of glasses which are used to view the screen, revealing a short video that plays on a continuous loop.

The interior shot of the video and the installation’s set-up in the gallery are a mirror of each other. The viewer places themselves ‘within’ the set of the video by sitting in an exact replica of it. By viewing themselves mirrored in the artwork, the work questions the validity of their viewing, the ways by which they see things and the ways in which they believe what they see.

What We See is a conversation between two people that refers to open, non-specific situations, empty questions and answers that allow the viewer to infer what they wish from it. The characters play out conflicting gestural indicators to their dialogue, negative shrugs accompany positive answers. The conversation aims to portray and play with strands of two theories; cognitive dissonance theory, in which we adapt our attitudes to the outcome of a situation, and a strand of the self perception theory, in this case the way a question is phrased is used to anticipate a desired response. “Do you always...” questions are responded to with a negative answer, and “Have you ever...” questions are responded to with positive answers.

This interactive installation aims to encourage the viewer to question what they see in their daily lives, and to explore the areas in which we can adjust and adapt modes of technology for our own uses and experimentation. It explores augmented reality technology, and how the advance of this technology is affecting the way we are developing, changing, and learning as a society. It aims to explore how new technologies are changing the way people think, act and perceive—both themselves and the world around them.

Artist's Statement

This work aims to question the audience’s awareness of their viewership, and how it can be altered and adjusted by forces outside of their control. This interactive art installation mimics the actions of our everyday lives by parodying and subverting the use of the normal sitting room set up where we sit down to watch TV. This installation requires the viewer to complete the work. When the video becomes apparent through the glasses, the viewer tries to understand or solve the trickery. They watch the video, wondering if the answer is in the conversation. The video that plays aims to draw the viewer’s attention to their actions by becoming aware of their surroundings in the mirrored film set/installation set.