Drawing with removed subject

Drawing with removed subject is a performative video and sound work, a micro archive, and a book and video edition.

The project started as an unchoreographed performance-video, Obstructed Drawings, in which an optical glass lens held in my left hand obstructed the movement of a marker pen held in my right hand. This drawing process developed into a form of choreography, incorporating eye tracking data as the basis for extending an afterimage, drawn with the whole body, concerning poetics of the eye.

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

In the prominent eye tracking studies of Russian psychologist, Alfred L. Yarbus, 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. Yarbus’ eye tracking studies were first published in English in 1967.

Taking this survey as a starting point, in a eye tracking research lab, I replicated a study that Yarbus had carried out – conducting a 25 second “free examination” of the same subject image used in the original experiments. I exported data of the resulting scan-path: a series of visual fixation points in numeric sequence.

Using 50 gallons of a specially prepared black concentrate, a regulation-size 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

The sound element of the work results from microphones positioned to record the ambient sound of the space and at several points directly upon the surface of the ice.

Talk and screening: Aeromoto and Wendy’s Subway at NADA New York, 2015
Screening: Avantgarde ist keine Strömung IV at Cinémathèque Leipzig, 2014