2006 | who's (looking at) who?, MOP PROJECT, Sydney
Installation. Digital prints, timber construction with TV monitor, external speakers
Videoloop: HD, 4:3, colour, stereo, 2:20 min
A series of photobooth inspired photostrips using a mix of iconic public faces interspersed with recent friends portraits as
grid round a 'photobooth space'. Images tend to look inwards (to the right and to the left), evoking a the presence of
the watched perhaps doing the watching in a paranoid world.
The TV screen points to surveillance monitoring within the public domain – while the booth functions as a site for our
voyeurisms. Its, as the title suggests, a case of who’s (looking at) who? in a world of “otherness”.
A review from The Art Life states:
At MOP Projects until April 2 Gianni Wise has his work Who’s (looking at) who? sitting next to an installation by Adam Cullen
and Cash Brown and it’s an interesting mix. Wise’s work is an elaborate installation that riffs on the form of the photo booth. You
enter the gallery space through a heavy curtain and facing you is big black TARDIS-like box with a tiny screen recessed into the
surface. The screen plays video footage of people on the street. The footage is crapped out greenish video and there are ominous
sounds coming from a speaker behind the scenes. Around the walls are strips of images like photo booth prints, except they are
taken from TV – Margaret Thatcher, David Lynch and a bald guy who might be Martin Heidegger or Pik Botha. There is a quote from
John McDonald on the gallery handout – “Politics is an embarrassment in much contemporary art – an exercise in selling
prepackaged opinions to the converted”. Aside from the pot-calling-kettle-black absurdity of that statement, the key here is the
‘prepackaged’ concept. Wise’s installation is both demonstrative and yet oddly ambiguous. He says his work is a “private space of
instant gratification and voyeurism where we may begin to ask who [is looking at] who? in a world of otherness” but it does not
offer voyeuristic pleasure – the gaze is directed by the artist, edited by the artist, authored by the artist. The form may derive from
a photo-booth, but the audience has no control here, we can only to act as receptors. Is that the point?