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Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL

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Archives of Vision

Archives of Vision

Proposing the act of seeing as a collaboration between an observer and robotic counterparts, “Archives of Vision” explores perception as a subjective, layered, and affective topology of wonder. Utilizing eye tracking technology, the trails and artifacts of the observer’s eye movement are materialized within a space, revealing the subjective nature of observation. While the observer looks around a space, the robotic counterparts learn how to see from her perspective. In an effort to understand how our eye movement shapes and forms our perception, the installation is composed of partial “vision stations” that each offer a different manifestation of an observer’s eye movement. Deconstructed typology of the installation reflects our definition of vision as an exploratory process through a temporal and spatial unfolding of layers of information and translations that happen while experiencing a scene.

Installation in three acts:

1. Looking at Looking

Rough Prototype



Virtual trails of the eye manifested in space using the peppers ghost technique



The installation uses eye tracking as an input for materializing the eye movements of the observer within a space. As the observer looks through the viewport, her point of gaze becomes visible – leaving a trail as she unconsciously and consciously scans and environment. The voyeuristic position of the observer, fixated in relation to the “viewport” creates a paradoxical situation of embodiment: on the one hand the observer is fixated in position, on the other hand her field of vision is technically put into motion and intercepted by the visual trails of her gaze.



2. Teaching a robot how to See


Previous prototype robots: Luna & Laika


Coupling eye movement with robotic motion


In the second stage of our installation we are investigating the capacity of a robot to see through studying the eye movement of an observer. Rather than applying computer vision to teach a robot how to perform a task, the work adopts a bottom up approach to tasking unspoken communications as mechanisms for improving accuracy and calibration in eye movement research.

While most visual technologies do not acknowledge the observing body apart from simple ergonomics of design, Luna depends on the premise that there is an observer, curiously looking around the environment. By teaching a robotic arm that has 4 axes of operation how to “see” we are creating a non-linear (and non-representational) extension of the eye rather than “supplanting sensory experience” to decorporealize vision. This resulted is a radically subjective and embodied manifestation of vision.


3. Seeing Collectively – Creating an archive of vision


Archiving the different observers’ gaze as a collection of memory of vision