Drawing with removed subject

Drawing with removed subject incorporates research materials, drawing, performance, video and sound.

The project started with a series of two-handed drawings, based on afterimages, in which an optical glass lens held in my left hand obstructed the movement of a marker pen held in my right hand.

Obstructed Drawings
Video and sound. 11m 08s.
Video stills.

This process became an investigation into drawing as a method of choreography, which combined with research into the prominent eye tracking studies of Russian psychologist, Alfred L. Yarbus.

In Yarbus’s experiments, a suction-based device was affixed directly to the eyes of the participants. The device incorporated a mirror which—as the viewers eyes moved across an image—reflected a corresponding path of light onto photosensitive paper.

For a subject image, Yarbus used Unexpected Return, a painting by Russian realist, Ilya Repin and the results were first published in English in 1967. Taking this survey as a starting point, in an eye tracking research lab, I replicated a section of the study that Yarbus had carried out, conducting a 25 second ‘free examination’ of the same subject image. I exported data of the resulting scan-path, comprising a series of visual fixation points.

Using 50 gallons of a specially prepared black concentrate, a regulation ice rink, measuring 200 x 85 feet was painted entirely opaque black. The surface was sealed to a reflective finish with a thin layer of ice.

Over the previous months I had rehearsed choreography with a figure skater, Brittney Rizzo, who, with the help of guide points, paced out the sequence in preparation for what had to be a single take, shot from 40 feet above. The figure skater then skated the scan-path sequence.

The result is a version of the 25 second eye tracking study, slowed down to the natural pace of the figure skater, without presence of the subject image.

Drawing with removed subject
Video & sound, 9m 40s.
Figure skater: Brittney Rizo