Only the Envelope: Artistic interpretations of eye-tracking imagery

McKenzie, Vahri and Ferguson, Neil K. (2018). Only the Envelope: artistic interpretations of eye-tracking imagery. Journal for Artistic Research 15.

Only the Envelope (OTE) combines several research methodologies to investigate the ways we share personal information in the public sphere. This exposition presents video and video stills as primary artefacts in a discussion about a live artwork that dramatises the act of looking. New audiovisual documents created through a re-enactment of the visitor’s experience, redeployed an eye-tracking device as a head-mounted camera. By employing the coercive power of complex technologies, OTE’s ironic performance of science maintained rather than undermined the compliant behaviour of participants. At the same time, the artist’s re-enactment of the visitor’s experience makes it possible to imagine, represent, and discuss such an act of subversion by illuminating the complexity of viewing behaviour when considered within the politics of the gaze and representation. This complexity is a reflection both of the emergent nature of a process-driven creative arts research enquiry, and of the work’s investigation of data retention.