The Zeugen

An Exploration by Carl Rosen

This piece is a modern day, new media version of the Mona Lisa because it takes the principles of that painting and takes them ten steps further, such as the following eyes. What the Mona Lisa does in its attempt of creating a stare that always follows you; the Zeugen’s eyes actually do follow you. Not only does its eyes follow you, but it takes it as step further by implementing several sets of eyes following from different people, and different mannerisms of eye movement. This is fascinating because it’s as if the people are watching and following in a semi-voyeuristic way. The work also attempts to diminish the differences in races, by facial reconstructions, yet the eye movements will be unique to the person, sending a message of uniqueness and disregarding any kind of stereotype.

I’d like to focus one what science does for the work. Science and art don’t often correlate, aside from updating technology, such as cameras to create art, but this piece is entirely a science experiment. New technological devices and algorithms had to be created in order for this piece to function, and what’s more interesting is how the science that is behind the machine is completely hidden from the viewer, despite the piece’s integrity hinging on it. Not only does science play a major role in the function of the piece, but also it’s creation, such as the face molds, reshaping of the faces, lights, etc. This work takes science and art and interweaves them both into a beautiful harmony.  The idea of science turning into art isn’t exactly unique, but it still is interesting because of all of the natural beauty that can occur through the study, such as the color of a specific slide under a microscope or even some of the differences in mechanics between different kinds of cameras. What is great about this work is that everything created by science is to fit the desired product of art, regardless of what it takes to get there.

One sentence and idea that is sticks out about the piece, which the video originally stated, is that the piece creates the experience of “seeing and being seen.” This concept is fascinating. You’re being watched as you watch, which is a common occurrence in everyday life. How many times have you met someone’s glance, only to be disregarded, or you’re the one to cringe and avoid making eye contact again because of the awkwardness. This piece challenges that notion and brings back the beauty of looking and eyes, as it attempts to create genuine entities to interact with the viewer, even though the eyes are not genuine because of the science behind their creation, and their inanimateness.

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