Wandering gaze
Framed photograph, plotter, metal shards, magnet, tripod, viewfinder with IR camera and eye-tracking software

The Wandering Gaze project, explores the relationship between the observer’s gaze and a given image, using eye-tracking technology.

The installation consists of an X-Y plotter concealed behind a framed printed photograph, dynamically positioning a magnet behind the image. While observing the photograph through the viewfinder, the path traced by the viewer's gaze is recorded by the eye-tracking system, and then retraced by the plotter-manipulated magnet. On the front of the image, a cluster of metal swarf follows the magnet, and subsequently, through erosion scrapes away the image surface.

This destruction will happen over time, being more prominent in the areas where the visual information is richer. The pieces of metal retain a connection with pre-digital photography itself (gelatin silver processes, tintypes, daguerreotypes...), but also with the technological apparatuses (that make use of various metals to construct them; the earth is excavated in search of these materials, changing its landscape, atmosphere, and polluting its air).

Areas which greater attract the stare of the viewer will be more aggressively eroded, eventually leaving only the “neutral” areas visible, i.e. those areas with less visual information. The shimmer of the metal cluster, concentrated in determined areas of the image, resembles that of a robotic insect, materializing the invisible paths traced by our gaze.

Photographs and videos by Tiago Rorke and Ana Teresa Vicente
This project was developed with the technical assistance of Makers in Little Lisbon (Tiago Rorke, Maurício Martins e Pedro Ângelo)

Built with Indexhibit