[ISEA2009] Artist Talk: Eric Siu – Optical Handlers: eeyee, 2008

Artist Statement

Optical Handlers – eeyee is an optical device that dissects one’s embodied visual experience by a simple tool-set – LCDs and cameras. eeyee literally splits users’ vision into two and relocates them onto their hands separately. The extended vision, along with the mobility of the hands, makes it possible for the users to observe the world from a dimension off the skull and from a perspective through the limbs. Instead of splitting the vision just as a left and a right, eeyee manages to treat each split stereoscopically. Thus, users experience a double mobile real time stereoscopic vision, which has a redundant reality that poses the questions: Aren’t we living in a 3D world already? Or are we? eeyee, facilitates a hyper entanglement exclusively for the users.

When users wear this device, their experience is completely alienated. They have to manipulate their body and invent their own ways to cope with their surroundings to make a step forward. Eventually, the user will meet and interact with the public – thus learn how to socialize and co-exist in this ‘hyper’ active space. eeyee provides an experiential situation for users to play with their own body and to make fun and interact with people around them. It has an identical set of LCDs that face outward, which enables bystanders to peek in the users’ vision as closely as they want. eeyee essentially blinds the users as well as heightens their senses to create a tension between their followers and the place where it is played.

Technical description
The device is amateurishly produced with a simple tool set. It consists of two parts – the goggles and the gloves. Within the goggles, two pairs of LCDs are arranged sideby-side in front of the right and left eye separately. Each eye sees two lenses magnified by LCD images, and they are perfectly aligned in a binocular distance so that user will overlap four images into two to create a stereoscopic vision. All the LCDs’ videos are sourced from two sets of stereoscopic cameras on the right and left gloves separately and accordingly, enables the user to see through his/her hands. An identical duplication of the LCD-set that has the same video sources is equipped in the forefront of the goggles, facing outward to the audiences, which allows bystanders to see through what the goggles wearer is seeing. The cameras also offer another four video signals that connect to a video splitter, used for recording the seeing in real time. Eventually, mobile stereoscopic vision and social interactive performance becomes possible.

Detail of material/media: Optical device, wearable media, head mount display, mini-LCDs, cameras, electronics, goggles, gloves, celastic, paint, jumpsuit.

  • Eric Siu is a new media artist raised in Hong Kong and currently a graduate student of Design | Media Arts at UCLA. In 2008, he completed a 12-month cultural exchange and research project in the United States funded by the Lee Hysan Foundation, Asian Cultural Council. Before this trip, he taught at the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (Kwun Tong) for two years right after he earned his bachelor degree from the School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong. Eric’s video art and multi-media works have been shown both locally and internationally including USA, Australia, Japan, Korea, Germany, and Poland, amongst others. His video short ‘Sliding Whites’ received an honourable mention from the WRO 05, 11th International Media Art Biennale, Wroclaw, Poland. Since 2008, he serves as a board member of Videotage, Hong Kong. Eric has a broad interest in animation, video, installation and interactive art.

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