Watching the Watchers
steel - 6’6” x 9’9” x 13’
22nd Ube Biennale Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition
Ube City, Yamaguchi, Japan
This sculpture is an interactive piece about surveillance and voyeurism. The structure consists of a series of somber walls, each 2 meters tall, making a small maze for visitors to walk around in. The walls have small windows or “keyholes” to look through, as if one is spying at a door. The keyholes range from small to large, and are sometimes awkwardly high or low. They are in positions so that, in order to look through a keyhole, someone else can see you through another keyhole.
“Who will watch the watchers?” This phrase comes up whenever discussing issues of privacy and security. Since the events of September 11th, the question has become especially problematic in the United States. There is a difficult tension between the need for increased security, pressures on personal privacy, and accountability of those in power making important decisions in secret.
This sculpture is also an opportunity for visitors to interact with art, being more participatory and playful than is often possible with fine art. It is the presence of visitors that completes the work and bring its meaning to light.