To See
Interactive video installation

Technical description:
2 dvd players
1 video projector
3 monitors
3 video color cameras
cables to link cameras and monitors
movement detector with switcher

The installation consists of two rooms, the first of them has windows looking onto a busy street. 3 monitors (without sound) are placed in these windows.
A spectator is passing the first space through and finds himself in another room, which is divided into 2 parts by a wall with an entrance. This wall is about 2m tall and stops short of the ceiling. Just in front of the wall there are 3 podia (each about 1 lm tall). When the spectator enters the second part of the room, he sees a platform with a double bed on it. A film showing two sleeping people is projected onto the white bed linen. Approaching the bed, the spectator arrives in a movement detector zone, which switches off the projection, replacing it with the same film, but with visual interference. In order to continue watching the picture, the spectators are climb on to mount on the podia and look over the wall. Standing there, they are filmed by cameras fixed in front of the wall, and their images are directly transmitted to the monitors in the first room, which attracts the attention of passers-by.

"For the last ten years Alexandra Dementieva’s art was focused on psychology, communication and sociology.  The artist is interested in the place of art in society, in the ways it is perceived by the public.

The mode of exchange, of the interaction between exhibition essense and the spectator; the very need to simulate life, forces artist to use new technologies. The installation "Voyeurism", is one of many included in the virtual museum of the human behavior founded by the artist.

Throughout our daily life voyeurism questions our actions. At which point do we become the "viewer", what triggers the transformation? The spatial environment of the exposition is one of these elements. First encounter with performance is via three monitors placed in street windows. The pedestrians can view them as they pass. The sounds and visual action of  the main exibition are cut off by a low partition, which to some extent traps spectator/participant. Upon entering the exhibition proper the visitor faces the wall with three podiums which allow to peek over it. Peering over the wall, he sees a couple in bed. Filmed closely by a camera, the visitor/actor does not know yet that his actions from now on are placed under narrow monitoring. Thus, position of the "voyeur" is simultaneously retransmitted on the monitors facing the street. A bed, on which a five minutes long film is projected, reveals a couple in its sleep. In the beginning, the images appear almost fuzzy; it is difficult to distinguish whether it’s a man and a woman, two women or two men.  The artist plays on this confusion in order to provoke the interest and thus the desire of her public. The bed becomes an enigmatic element, causing the desire to see or imagine what will/could occur there. Suspenseful sound [permeating the space] accentuates the tension of the experience. On a side of the wall, an opening makes it possible to access the bed.  Visitor’s approach activates a sensor, which scrambles the image of the couple. This installation causes in us the emotions suitable for voyeurism: attraction and frustration.

The visual and auditory sensations surrounding the visitor combine to reveal the ultimate fragility of the construct. Alexandra Dementieva brings us closer our limits, and shows how easily she can shatter them. This celebration of the life requires use of technology; but the action and participation of the public is essential to appreciation of artist’s work. In the absence of latter, the installation is deprived of its trigger, and thus, of its need for being."

Anne D’Hond 
Translated to english by Anton Sachs