Date display area
Ways of Seeing (2015)
Project description
Ways of Seeing is a dynamic installation driven by a real-time webcam feed combined with visual materials gathered using algorithmic data-mining techniques from publicly available web sites. The work is displayed using four identical monitors which are wall-mounted at eye level.

Ways of Seeing, deliberately named in reference to John Berger’s important contribution to our understanding of how visual information is given cultural meaning, is an installation designed to make viewers aware of two contrasting aspects of digital (re)mediation. On the one hand, the ideological gaze, the filtered narratives of power, causation and interpretation that underlie the construction of meaning and on the other, the opportunities for provocation and dissent provided by the affordances of modern digital networked information systems.

Image materials are collected from four contrasting groups of news sources selected for different perspectives on the status and future of Al Quds (Jerusalem). These collections are deliberately focused on news and campaigning organisations from a range of positions, images are grouped by the collection system based on their context which includes the organisation they are sourced from. These four image libraries then form the basis of a set of four ideological ‘lenses’; visual materials selected in their original publication with an explicit bias which are then cut up and used in fragmentary form to ‘paint’ four copies of a live webcam stream of the conflict zone itself, individual pixels from the webcam are replaced with an image fragment with the same average colour value. This substitution (degradation) prevents the webcam feed form being ‘read’ as reportage by continually drawing attention to the means of presentation; as Jay David Bolter would put it, the real-time view is remediated rather than being presented transparently.
The four ‘alternative remediations’ of the same live webcam stream are presented next to each other on monitors, each employing materials drawn from a different bias selection criterion. From a distance, the four views look largely similar, but close up, the differences in detail can be seen. The viewer, acknowledging the ostensible content (the area in view) is thus encouraged to examine the specific detail in each re-visioning; to look closely at the fragments of ideologically charged material in which the different versions of the overall image are expressed. The piece is thus a metaphor for the ways a given situation can be observed from different ideological viewpoints.
Exhibition history
Ways of Seeing was first exhibited on 1st September 2015 at the DRHA2015 conference in Dublin, Eire.
Equipment requirements
Live internet feed, Four identical monitors (24 inch minimum, 1920 by 1200 resolution) with wall mounting kits, Four standard PCs. Network, power and video cables as required.

This page was last updated on 3rd October 2015