Have you ever noticed the often-graceful synchronicity of crowd movement at large events like the football? There appears to be an innate collective-subconscious functioning that causes hundreds of eyes to move in unison to concentrate on the same focal point. Aware of the gaze of the people around you, your curiosity leads you to turn to look in the same direction.
Crowd (2006) is a suspended, disembodied community of eyeballs that gaze out inquisitively at the viewer, watching and tracking every movement. As the viewer moves to the left and to the right, the eyes will follow. When no one is present the eyes go to sleep, when someone approaches the eyes wake abruptly to scrutinise the intruder. With artificial intelligence and apparent self-consciousness, the eyes are ‘aware’ of each other. When one pair of eyes detect and direct their gaze towards someone, the other eyes will also become ‘curious’ and look in the same direction.
Using projection, real-time 3D computer graphics and a video camera to track the movement of a person in real and virtual space, Crowd is able to simulate natural eye movement and the mechanisms of visual perception. Irises and pupils are projected onto the surface of suspended white spheres, producing the uncanny effect of ‘seeing’ biological entities. A digital successor to the experiments in Optics of the 17th century, the technology behind Crowd extends and enhances our eyes.