Interplace (1997)

Interplace (1997) was perhaps the most carefully considered work and by far the most accessible in imagery and intent. The movements of viewers controlled the sounds and sights of the installation. A translucent screen floated in the centre of the space and received a twolayered video projection. Footage from inside malls were used to create a loop of sameness that is familiar to most of the Western world: those safe, monolithic, repetitive, surveillance-laden superstores.

Layers of images play against one another as the movements of the viewers imposed a ghost silhouette on the screen and altered the sounds. Two surveillance cameras, set under museum display plinths, pointed at the audience, denying the privilege of the gaze and enforcing participation. As viewers’ forms moved across the screen, a false sense of control was created in the gallery space. Surveillance cameras mapped their movements just as much as the ones in the realm of controlled consumerism.

By translating the use and presentation of the surveillance camera into the formal language of the gallery – making it visible and centrally displayed – Interplace diminishes the camera’s power of surveillance. With this shift in the power dynamic between viewer and viewed, Interplace critiques the privilege of the gaze.

The knowledgeable viewer will easily read the reflexive positions in which they were placed in all three of Screen’s installations. As the viewer moved from the exterior projection of Flight to the atmosphere of The Ecstasy of Small Change and then to the interactivity of Interplace they became less an observer and more the observed. The viewer became more deeply committed to their role as watcher but, simultaneously, more power was handed over to the camera. In Interplace, the viewer and camera work together, fused on a screen that questions the culture of consumption in general as well as the particular dynamics of consumption in the gallery.

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