The Seeing Eye. Rear Window Real Window, by Hugo de Almeida Pinho
Presented in December at the Cité Internationale des Arts (the International City of Arts) is the performative installation The Seeing Eye. Rear Window Real Window was produced by Hugo de Almeida Pinho as part of his optical research.
Born in 1986 in Ovar, Portugal, Hugo de Almeida Pinho has been intensely reflecting on the power of images and the manipulation of perception since 2012, when he graduated from the University of Porto. He explores and instigates a conversation between the arts of projection and installation, linking his theoretical research to metaphorical proposals. The artist aims to disrupt the viewer’s reference points to stimulate reflection.
Thus Pedra Pedra, presented in 2018 at the Appleton [Box] in Lisbon examines the interference of technology in images through projected photos and videos. For The Valley of Thousands Smokes in 2015 the artist used projectors and a smoke machine to question the latter’s ability to be both a surface and a place of interference in the Arquipélago Contemporary Arts Centre in San Miguel (Azores).
What is the gaze?
“The observer is someone who sees a set of possibilities constrained by a system of conventions,” explains the artist. In other words, we always believe that our way of seeing reality is reliable.
This is what The Seeing Eye is all about. The aim of Rear Window Real Window is to pose questions through a three-dimensional experience that allows the viewer to interact with a projector. The idea? To allow oneself to be immersed in the visual effects of technology, to understand how technology alters and changes our ability to see the world. Installed in a room immersed in darkness, the device challenges the perception of the observer.
A complex system
Hugo de Almeida Pinho wanted to reflect on the cultural dimension of sight, to question the historical, social and psychological "gaze", rather than the biological aspects, and to study changes towards a way of controlling eye movements.
The Seeing Eye. Rear Window Real Window is the result of his research and seeks to train the viewer through a light installation to see technology as a way to modulate our vision.
In his research, Hugo de Almeida Pinho draws on the work of the German art critic Walter Benjamin, who worked on the influence of the reproducibility of works of art, the French ophthalmologist Louis-Émile Javal, a specialist in strabismus and blindness, the philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty, author of Phénoménologie de la perception (Phenomenology of Perception, 1945), and the American historian Martin Jay, who in 1993 reviewed The Denigration of Vision in Twentieth Century French Thought.
His residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts gave him access to many sources of optical research not available in Portugal.
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Winner of the Cité internationale des arts residency programme, Hugo de Almeida Pinho was in Paris in 2019. Find out more about residencies at the Cité Internationale des Arts