Oculus is a large-scale, collaborative light sculpture that depicts a colossal abstracted drosophila eye, replete with compound faceted surfaces. It both recalls the circular opening at the apex of a cupola and alludes to a surveillance device or drone hovering in mid-air. Oculus is inspired in part by a series of scanning electron micrographs produced in a transgenic lab while researching human and non-human sensoria. The work evokes affective encounters with scale such as viewing miniature particles through the lens of a microscope or wandering through monumental physical environments. As each viewer’s reflection plays across the sculpture’s undulating surface, the apprehension of the self affects both individual and collective behavior in unexpected ways. This affective dynamic plays on the precariousness of our coexistence with other lifeforms in the world, one that is always contingent upon viewers’ bodies and the variability of the environment around them. The act of gazing at Oculus also puts into play the reciprocal condition of both seeing and being seen.
Oculus also invites the viewer to ponder the impact of the gargantuan and the miniature on our perception of bodily presence and scale. It explores those sensory modalities that play a dominant role in spatial perception and triggers the affect of scale on several fronts: in the viewer’s perception of the sculpture’s relationship to architectural space, in the relationship between micro and macro worlds, and in the viewer’s perception of their own bodily scale in relation to the work. Ultimately, Oculus strategically triggers an affective encounter with the colossally represented miniscule, offering a fantastic voyage that navigates spatial, temporal, and phenomenal worlds.
Oculus in on exhibit during Venice Design 2018 from May 26 - November 25, 2018 at Palazzo Michiel, concurrent with the Venice Architecture Biennale.