Revealed attempts to give the viewer time to look at the world, at this specific place in time, simultaneously with two sets of ‘eyes.’ With all of our current technological feats, it is hopefully a reminder of how powerful and striking pure light and the absence of light can be.
Revealed was conceived as a site-adaptive, public art project that creates both permanent art works (large and small format photos) and is a temporary public art installation. It is a visual art project with a performance component in the form of a movement installation that is performed at the end of the camera’s installation at a given site. The camera obscura was designed to be shipped and installed all over the world. To date, since 2006, it has been installed in three different locations.
A book which fully documents the project can be purchased at blurb.com (click on photo below):
(2006-2007) AND ON GOING
A PUBLIC ART INSTALLATION and EVENT and Photographic Portfolio
Installed at the following locations:
World Financial Center/Battery Park City, NYC May, 2006
Presented by World Financial Center Arts & Events
Massachussetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA ) June, 2007
Presented by Mass MoCA
Meade Museum, Amherst, Mass. October, 2007
Presented by the Meade Museum, Amherst College
Project Conception/Artistic Direction: Stephan Koplowitz
Event Creation: Stephan Koplowitz
Camera Design: KBAS (Keith Kaseman and Julie Beckman)
Lens Fabrication: George Keene
Fabricator: Perfection Electricks (Marty Chafkin)
Structural Engineers: Buro Happold
Consultant: Michael Edelson
Revealed is a project that is actively being developed for future installations, here (photo below) is a rendering for the next version of the camera which would include a new "skin".
REVEALED, Battery Park City, New York, NY FULL PROGRAM
Installed at the World Financial Center/Battery Park City, NYC, May 2006
Presented by World Financial Center Arts & Events
CAMERA OBSCURA IMAGES
REVEALED, MASS MoCA, North Adams, MASS
Massachussetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA), June 2007
Presented by Mass MoCA
"A world turned upside down"
CAMERA OBSCURA IMAGES
"'Revealed' flips world upside down"
Reprinted from the Program at the Mead Museum of Art, Amherst College, October 2007
A short history of camera obscuras:
In the mid sixteenth century Giovanni Battista della Porta is reported to have made a huge "camera" in which he seated his guests, having arranged for a group of actors to perform outside so that the visitors could observe the images on the wall. The story goes, however, that the sight of upside down performing images was too much for the visitors; they panicked and fled, and Battista was later brought to court on a charge of sorcery.
The Camera Obscura (Latin for "dark room") is a dark box or room with a hole in one end. If the hole is small enough, an inverted image can be seen on the opposite wall. Glass lenses were fitted into the holes late in the sixteenth century. The image that appears shows the colors, distance and motion of what is happening outside the camera: people moving, trees bending in the wind, cars driving by, clouds floating overhead.
The first cameras were enormous. Some had an outer shell with lenses in the center of each wall, and an inner shell containing transparent paper for drawing; the artist needed to enter by a trap door. Other versions also appeared. Tent-type cameras were also in use - even up to the beginning of the nineteen hundreds. Visual artists have used camera obscuras as drawing aids since the sixteenth century, focusing an image on a piece of paper and using it to recreate the natural shapes and colors. Camera Obscuras were the world's first technology for perceiving space, for visualizing with other than the naked eye.
It has lately been in the news with a controversial debate over whether Dutch master painters used this technology to paint with perspectives and detail not seen prior to that time period. The artist David Hockney has been giving lectures in support of the theory that
Vermeer et al used this technology to enhance their painting. From that historical period up until the invention of photography, Camera Obscuras have been a part of the history of imaging and perception.
The genesis of REVEALED: Artist Statement (Stephan Koplowitz)
Several years ago (1994), I visited the Greenwich Observatory, located on the Greenwich meridian in England, and saw the walk-in camera obscura that is a permanent part of the structure. As I stood inside the camera, I was able to visually eavesdrop on people and things in the Observatory Park. The magic created by the camera's sophistication and simplicity inspired me to want to create REVEALED, which ultimately will be a series of site-specific public art installations and performance events viewed from within walk-in camera obscuras. This is a work that investigates perception and our ability to perceive space and light.
My own work with site-specific art making touches on many aspects of REVEALED: allowing an audience to see and experience a familiar place in an original way, render a new context to a site through performance and to create new and hopefully unique visual events for such sites. I have had a long interest in and fascination with photography. My first professionally produced event in NYC was an exhibition of photography, which involved large composite photo booth images, photocopied murals, video stills, and imaging created with unconventional sources. During the last ten years, I have also incorporated video and filmmaking with my work for sites and stage with greater frequency. REVEALED brings all of these interests into focus.
Technologically, we are racing towards a digital horizon that seems to have no end in sight. My fascination with the technology of the camera obscura relates to my interest in going back to sources, making art out of a specific phenomenon, the simple act of light passing through an aperture in a darkened room. REVEALED is about sight and perception. How do we actually take in the world around us? REVEALED attempts to give the viewer time to look at the world, at this specific place in time, simultaneously with two sets of "eyes". With all of our current technological feats, it is hopefully a reminder of how powerful and striking pure light and the absence of light can be.
REVEALED Production History 2006 and 2007:
The installation of Revealed at the Mead Museum at Amherst College is the third iteration of this site-adaptive installation. The location and fixed perspective of the camera was specifically chosen for this site. Both the view of the museum and the spire of the church, give the audience a different perspective on the Mead and it’s design, location.
Earlier this year, Revealed was seen in the courtyard at MASS MoCA which brought a new dimension to this project. The position of the camera was positioned so that it had a view of the ongoing installation by Natalie Jeremijenko: Tree Logic and the surrounding courtyard. Thus returning the upside down trees of that installation right side up.
In May, June 2006, this work was first installed on the Lower Promenade in front of the World Financial Center in Battery Park City, NYC .
Revealed allows up to 25 members of the public to walk into the camera, view the outside world from the reverse and upside down perspective as projected onto a five foot diameter screen and then walk out and have their perception "corrected". One intention of the work to is allow people a chance to experience their own perception in a new way. The camera functions as a "working" or “usable” public art installation (in NYC it attracted over 5,000 people over the course of five weeks). In addition, it allows Koplowitz the opportunity to create site-specific performances made for the site seen through the upsdie down perspective of the lens. Before the camera is de-installed, a series of museum quality photographs, using high end professional digital equipment (in NYC it was a H2 Hasselblad/22MP Leaf back camera) will be taken which creates its own unique portfolio of limited addition prints and publications
The first edition in this ongoing series numbered 22 images in all is now currently on sale and available for exhibition. It is also published in a limited addition collectable book available online at blurb.com.
A second and third limited addition portfolio will be published later this year with MASS MoCA and the Mead Museum/Amherst as its subject/site.
The camera structure itself was designed by award winning design firm KBAS (winners of the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial design competition). Keith Kaseman and Julie Beckman of KBAS collaborated with Koplowitz on the creation of this first edition/"proof of concept" camera obscura.
The full version of Revealed, which is in development, is to build four additional cameras and have them installed throughout an environment, each one providing a different perspective, focal length, site-specific performance and photographic portfolio. Revealed in its “full” length form would provide a more immersive experience around site, perception and performance.
Technical notes on the camera obscura:
• The LENS of the camera was custom built: It is an achromatic Doublet lens with 6 inches diameter and 102 inches focal length (f/17). The lens is fully coated to reduce reflections.
• The CAMERA was built under strict specifications to meet both public access codes and the needs of the artistic project which require the camera to be portable (able to be re-installed in different sites), large enough to accommodate as many as 25 people at a time.
• Our eyes naturally see things upside down; it is our brain that processes the image "right side up".
• Revealed Portfolio 1.0 consists of 22 photographs
• Revealed portfolio photos are archival pigment ink prints and measure 24" X 24"
• Portfolio 1.0 was created with a Hasselblad H2 camera with a 22 MP Leaf back, June, 2006.
A special portfolio of high quality photographic prints have been created using this camera obscura and featuring images from the site-specific performance. For information on viewing and purchasing these prints, please contact Stephan Koplowitz at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about REVEALED or any questions, please write to the same address. REVEALED is actively seeking producing partners and sites for future installations and performances. Please contact Stephan Koplowitz at email@example.com with any questions or information.