OVEREXPOSED

Video performance

Los Angeles, CA

1995

Democratizing information was part of the ideology of the modern movement. Glass was considered to be a material of truth and an instrument of disclosure. However, the utopian future envisioned by the modernists turned dystopian several generations later. The transparent building which was to permit unlimited vision out, in fact, exposed itself to observation from without. The transparency of the curtain wall, along with other more insidious forms of surveillance, may have created an overexposed world leaving few shadow zones of privacy. Societal attitudes toward glass reflect the flip sides of modernist visuality. Today, glass is neither the euphoric material that promises to seamlessly connect private and public space, nor the menacing surface defining controller and controlled. The pathologies have inverted: the fear of being watched has transformed into the fear that no one may be watching. Thus, glass has assumed the role of a representational surface, a performance screen. Overexposed is a 24-minute continuous video pan across and up and down the surface of Gordon Bunshaft’s Pepsi-Cola building, one of the signature curtain wall buildings of the 20th C. The pan briefly pauses at each office to recount a flashback witnessed by a fictive viewer from a neighboring building. The accompanying voiceover reveals observations of a post-voyeuristic vision, a hyper-sightedness attracted to unexpected stimuli, infinite detail, and readings formed by a new set of hierarchies.

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