rachel hurst. designer. photographer. social media manager
The webcam alerts us to its visibility by a small green light. This green light becomes the token symbol for permission and consent of imagery. We are alerted to the webcams engagement by this shift. The publics perception of surveillance is that it is either OFF or it is ON, and that we are a part of the choice of visibility. Surveillance and the gaze are in the constant between evident and non-evident and do not reflect this ideal. Ironically this piece plays on making this observatory recording more obvious to its ON state. When standing in front of the piece the camera turns on, when the audience steps away, the camera turn off. By placing the same symbol for visibility on other objects that gaze at you, it draws attention to the ability of inanimate objects that we interact with on a daily basis to record us. The installment of Camera On, on a mirror, also draws upon the narcissistic tendencies of the mirror. The mirror has the ability to reflect the physical self, much like surveillance does to the seemingly pedestrian citizen.
To Take A Photo
On average a citizen of the United Kingdom will be recorded by 70 CCTV cameras in any given day. In assuming the surveillance camera as a sentient body and conscious mediator between two bodies these 70 postcards come written as odes of love. Transgressions of the camera’s intimate relationships with the human. Relishing in its ability to capture these fragmented intimate moments of one’s public life. Moments in pixelation that are otherwise fleeting in everyday life are recorded and logged by the camera as an opportunity to arouse suspicion. These macro-experiences become intimate breaches of privacy, and question the right to the subject’s bodies manifested in the captured image. The communications in postcard form are one-sided declarations, with no address, no postage, unrequited desires. In these analogue manifestations surveillance becomes not only a question of power and authority but possession and reproduction. The audience is asked to take a postcard themselves; investing themselves in these voyeuristic acts, becoming another mediator of the story as they remove one fragmented part from the stack.
The writings depicting a fiction of things the camera caught while you weren’t looking. things the camera felt when you were in its gaze. desires the camera had to leave its covert space, things the camera could see from up here, if only momentarily; a tour of you.
Censor-ship adopts the framework of the game Battleship and redefines the way in which we use maps to geolocate and maintain visibility in areas the have been attacked by US drones. The aerial view is harnessed as the quintessential vantage point for drones and for the public to form relationships with the imagery of these places but also the sometimes delayed satellite footage to document the destruction. Essentially these technological platforms provide the only visual evidence accessible to the universal public in contextualizing these landscapes. Gaining perspective through vertical angles speaks to the accessibility of imagery but also the censorship of these stories, lives, places and grief. This becomes a question of how surveillance and the gaze has moved past human lines of sight and been implemented into satellite based combat and reinterpreted into militarized gaming. There is a strong attempt to reconnect with the land while always being struck with the limitations of the satellites to relay accurate and recent visual information. With the loss of the horizon line the audience begins to consider not only the almost god-like view that this kind of footage allows, but the divinely distant quality within militant warfare.
Landscapes of Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan screen captured from Google Earth at the closest date to when the missile strike occurred are logged and can be inserted interchangeably behind the battle platform grid. The missiles when inserted into the grid transform into forms that are vaguely human, a clear reminder of not only the landscapes destruction but the unidentifiable and often anonymous casualties from such a distance.
Wank Publication represents the illusion of digital intimacy and privacy, manifested as an analogue iteration of cascading digital files that document our lives. Behind Wank was the concept of how simple paths are logged onto our personal hard drives in unique archival systems, a string of texts, images and digital links. The eject symbol is used as a token of expulsion, digital output and human ejaculation. Layers of poetry, photography and typographic play printed on acetate become the transparent pages of Wank. Each layer acting in accordance so as to not disrupt the content of the other layers. The audience is able to create their own unique organization of Wank as they engage with the piece on a more intimate level.
By considering the conditions of pacification experienced by individuals, parallels were drawn between the systems of technology and religion. The outcome is an interactive website that visualizes these parallels. Research, design and production in partnership with Bonita Mak.
A product designed to help one hold a smile when they are unable to. Through the exploration of what it means to be or feel antisocial, this video aims to heighten the experience of the smile beyond a smile. Research, design and production in partnership with Bonita Mak.