OBSERVATION ROOM (2003)
Intersections: Sydney College of the Arts
The Observation Room consists of two humidicribs that have been modified to incorporate a cathode ray tube in each of their aluminium bases. An image of a human eye undergoing surgery is displayed on each screen. A dark wavering line moves hypnotically across the surface of the screen. This line was created by the shadow of the artist's body caught on videotape. Its motion echoes that of a scanner converting analogue into digital information. As it plays across the screen the line causes a wipe, peeling back one eye to reveal another.
Created from scavenged parts to mimic a hybrid of human and machine, the installation questions some of the assumptions underlying the bio-tech industry. The Observation Room was exhibited in the Intersections exhibition at Sydney College of the Arts during the Art, Health, and Design World Symposium.
1. SCA is located in the historic Kirkbride complex which was once home to patients of Callan Park Mental Hospital. Built in the early 1880's as a model institution for the insane, the hospital was finally closed following the damning Richmond report of 1983. The Richmond report exposed the appalling conditions at Callan Park which had steadily declined since the hospital's completion. During the 1940's and 50's patients were subjected to experimental treatments like electro-convulsive therapy and psychosurgery (leucotomies and lobotomies) as staff raced to stay abreast of new treatments developed overseas.
THE OBSERVATION ROOM – humidicribs, cathode ray tubes, video, audio. Dimensions variable.