Camera Obscura

The camera obscura is a type of tourist attraction found in many seaside resorts in which a projected image of the scene outside can be viewed from within a large darkened room.

Viewers engage with the projected image in a different way to the actual view, scrutinising it more fully and spending more time allowing their curiosity to unfold. The camera obscura demands a different type of attention and provides a more engaged, more tranquil and often more meditative viewer experience than the view itself. This piece is a digital camera obscura that presents the viewer with a live but modified version of the view from Castle House. The piece randomly selects portions of a live video feed and overlays them into a slowly shifting patina of video imagery. By selecting randomly zoomed portions of the view and layering them in this way, small changes in everyday activity that might be overlooked in the actual view become more noticeable and evident in the projection. This fractured image of the city ebbs and flows, reminding the viewer of the developing nature of the urban cityscape and its implicit impermanence and susceptibility to change.


Title: Camera Obscura
Year of production: 2014
Media: Software, audiovisual equipment
Commissioning info: This project was part of The Sheffield Bazaar/Festival of the Mind 2014. Artists and organizations with a passion for contemporary art were invited to submit proposals for The Sheffield Bazaar, with successful events being given financial support from Festival of the Mind through Arts Council England Grants for the Arts funding.

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