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Image of the Week: Eye Contact

18 Jul, 2014

Eye Contact - window display at the Wellcome Trust

We’re used to looking in windows, but what if they were able to look back?

The image above captures a moment from the new window display on show at Wellcome Trust HQ – an art installation called “Eye Contact”. This artwork consists of over 650 coloured boxes lit by over 16,000 LEDs, which together form two giant pairs of eyes.

We encounter thousands of electronic images every day, via our phones, computers, projectors and televisions. But how does the digital screen mediate our reactions to what we see? Do we experience different emotional responses seeing faces via Skype or YouTube, than we would if we were truly face to face with them?

This installation by Peter Hudson, a recent graduate from Camberwell College of Arts, probes these questions of perception and recognition. It will be winking and blinking at passersby for the next year.

To create the work, Peter recruited 68 members of Trust staff to volunteer to have footage of their eyes recorded. He then transformed this into the heavily pixellated video display that is on show in the windows of our building on Euston Road.

The eyes will change and move throughout the day, displaying the idiosyncrasies of each individual’s gaze. At sunset, the eyes will ‘sleep’, remaining closed during the night, unless they are awoken by a passing pedestrian.

You can see the eyes for yourself in the window of the Gibbs building, at 215 Euston Road, or read more about the Wellcome Trust windows commission on the Wellcome Trust website. A full list of staff members who participated is available on Peter Hudson’s website.

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