April 22 6:00pm - 9:30pm
April 23 11:00am - 7:00pm
April 25 12:00pm - 4:00pm
ICFWYWM (I Can’t Focus When You’re Watching Me) is an interactive
time-based drawing installation. It consists of a two axis drawing
plotter driven by an Arduino microcontroller. A continuous sheet of
paper is fed from a box, through the machine, and off the other end.
This piece explores themes of observation, interference and the unavoidable influence of the audience. While unobserved, the machine completes a repetitive task of drawing rows of squares across a continuous feed of printer paper. This is interrupted when it senses it is being observed - when the livestream website is accessed, and alters its movements permanently. The more someone interferes, observes and participates, the more it diverges from its original task. As more viewers observe the machine, even its unobserved task - drawing squares - is affected, distorting them into increasingly irregular shapes. In this interaction, the machine and the observer become collaborators, a relationship rooted in conflict. It is important to note that the audience will never see the machine completing it’s intended task, only it’s response to being observed.
ICFWYWM is a piece that cannot exist without observation, and yet it begs to be left alone. I think this paradoxical feeling of wanting attention but not wanting to be seen is innately human. The inner conflict of authenticity is interrupted by our desire to connect with and be valued by others. This is why art void of outside influence is a fallacy. Despite constantly being sought after, authenticity and originality in art is impossible to achieve because it demands an audience. The influence of the audience is integral in shaping both the art and the artist. Without it, we’re left with boring rows of squares on a piece of paper.
Devlin Macpherson, 2021
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