An artwork consisting of over 650 coloured pixels, lit by over 16,000 LEDs and using real footage of the eyes of 68 volunteers that changes in the course of the day (displaying the idiosyncrasies of each individual’s gaze we are told) can be seen in the windows of the Gibbs Building on Euston Road, Wellcome Trust’s central London headquarters this summer.
It’s a video installation created by artist Peter Hudson called ‘Eye Contact’.
What we love and a technique which we like using ourselves to bring walls, furniture and installations in general alive … the eyes will be ‘awake’ and active through the day and will close at sunset to ‘sleep’ through the night – errr, unless, that is, they are woken by a passing pedestrian!!
The press release says that the piece was inspired by themes drawn from Wellcome Trust research in neuroscience and perception, and I quote “challenges the viewer to consider how our reliance on digital screens has changed the way we interact with images and each other”.
Close up, the pixels are an abstract mosaic of flickering colours and light, but viewed as a whole the image resolves and a pair of eyes gazes out from the window.
The artist, Peter Hudson, a recent graduate from Camberwell College of Arts, was quoted as saying “Through this installation, I’m exploring how the digital screen mediates the way we consume images and how the emotional content is affected. Eyes are both a symbol of perception and an instantly recognisable human feature, so by presenting them through a heavily pixellated video display, I’m challenging the usually fluid process of recognition. The pixellation leaves enough detail that regular viewers of the installation, such as commuters, should be able to identify the same participants’ eyes recurring throughout the year.”
‘Eye Contact’ is the second winning entry from a competition run by the Wellcome Trust for students at the University of the Arts London  – the first winning piece, ‘View’, by artist Phoebe Argent, was displayed in the window last year, Ed.
The eyes featured in ‘Eye Contact’ were provided by staff from the Wellcome Trust. A full list of participants is available on Peter Hudson’s website .
This is a superb example of a ‘living, breathing (or rather seeing!) digital canvas. ‘Eye Contact’ will be displayed in the windows of the Gibbs Building, 215 Euston Road, until July 2015.