Selected by Karen Gaskill
Since the beginning of time we have developed ways of observing and positioning ourselves within our environment. Dating back to cave painting, Camera Obscuras and early documentary films such as Vertov's 'Man with a Movie Camera' (1929), we have found multiple methods of capturing and recording our surroundings.
Superblue in their recent project Skyscopes (2008) have begun to explore the relationship between observation and technology. As a design project it draws distinct parallels with a number of theoretical positions, yet above this it responds to meet the wants and interests of its public audience. Akin to the Camera Obscura that was popularised by a curious public eager to see the first moving image-scapes of their city, the Skyscopes afford the public a view that is normally restricted to private access.
In an age that is constantly documented by CCTV the Skyscopes offer a pleasurable alternative. In shifting the role of the public from the watched to the watcher, our traditional notion of the gaze is reversed- in that the negative connotations usually associated with watching and observing are replaced with a sense of pleasure and spectacle.
In this shift from voyeuristic to cinematic, Superblue re-introduce a sense of wonder back into the action of watching. Personally finding pleasure once again in the liberty of observing the world go by, I feel Superblue break down some of the hostile attitudes underlining public and private space. In their use of everyday technologies to make the private, public, they not only contribute to the debate on the future of networked public environments, but also how the strategies of design projects can look afresh at the way public communication channels can be made apparent and fun for the everyday flâneur.
Karen Gaskill is an independent curator, researcher and artist based in Manchester, UK.
More information on Superblue
Karen Gaskill's Curator Profile
Superblue's external website