San Francisco artist Chris Eckert, who wanted to make a point of increasing surveillance and decreasing privacy of the population, has created “Blink“, an absolutely incredible series of mechanically operating blinking single eyeballs in a row, each equipped with face tracking software to deliberately evoke a disconcerting sense of privacy violation. This series premiered during Eckert’s February 2018 show at the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art entitled “Privacy Not Included“.
Blink is an installation of individually articulated eyeballs. Servos tilt each eyeball up/down and left/right. Eyelids give the eye a range of emotion – surprise, suspicion, boredom. Face tracking software allows each eye to follow and interact with people within its environment. Interacting with one eye is interesting, but imagine a public space populated with numerous eye sculptures – all of them following you, watching your every move…
In an interview with KQED, Eckert explains the methodology and the message of this brilliant project.
Kind of the goal was to overwhelm someone looking at them. You really never sure which machines are looking at you. You can only look at one or two machines at a time and then you realize that some of the other machines you were looking at have been observing you all the while. …it kind of shifted your view of what was happening there. It changed it from being fun to being kind of invasive.