Only the Envelope [2016-2017]


Only the Envelope is a live art installation shown in Bunbury Regional Art Galleries’ Archive Room that investigates the ways we share personal information in the public sphere. In this work a ‘scientist’ offered visitors the opportunity to be involved in an ‘experiment’ by viewing an original video while wearing an eye-tracking device. Only the Envelope offers a recursively playful performance of faith in ‘science’ that troubles a distinction between the apparently private experience of viewing art with the apparently public experience of being surveilled.

Image credit: Vahri McKenzie, Only the Envelope, Bunbury Regional Art Galleries, 2016. Photograph by Vahri McKenzie and Rachelle Rechichi.

Only the Envelope Re-enactment Video

Installation view. Photograph courtesy of BRAG.

Rachelle Rechichi as the ‘scientist’ Svetlana. Re-enactment video still.

The ‘scientist’ with eye-tracking data visualised as a gaze plot that shows the spread of ‘looks’ over the image.

The ‘scientist’ with eye-tracking data visualised as heat map, which is an average of the gaze plot and represents time compressed into a single image.

The eye-tracking camera captures the image viewed in the video, as well as reflections of the participant viewing the video and the scientist surveilling the participant. Re-enactment video still.

The eye-tracking camera captures the image viewed in the video, as well as reflections of the participant viewing the video and the scientist surveilling the participant. Re-enactment video still.


This project was supported by:

  • Bunbury Regional Art Galleries [exhibitions catalogue]
  • Edith Cowan University’s School of Arts and Humanities Small Research Grants
  • Edith Cowan University’s e-Research Technology Funding Scheme

Published research:

Public talks: