Yesterday, I was at the Tate Britain and stunned by the architecture, felt like being in an oversized wedding cake. The artwork usually blurs into one conveyor belt of canvas for me but the ‘video at the end’ literally sucked me down the hall. – Mark Wallinger – Threshold to the Kingdom: a screen installation in a circular room and soothing music alongside. We see streams of people exiting the arrivals airport gate in slo mo. That vulnerable point when you expose yourself to a new audience – maybe you’re looking for someone that hasn’t yet arrived, maybe you’ve found them but you’re planning an escape.
This moment, when you think no one’s looking, or at least you can’t see anyone looking – scanning your raw emotions. I was recently part of the cast of You Me Bum Bum Train – a rollercoaster experience for the audience where you are thrown into random situations you likely have never experienced before. Every 3 mins, a new ‘passenger’ would come into our scene – my job was to shine a spotlight right in their face so they were blinded and couldn’t see the cast & crew that were standing a couple of metres away from them. In turn, we could see it all. The adrenalin, the need to perform, the fear, the sweating. This was no video, this was live and it made me feel a bit filthy. I think I liked it.
So I felt I was cheating all these zombie types, zapping something out of them eachtime but also I just couldn’t quite believe they couldn’t see me. I was about 12 when I went on an ID Parade at a police station to catch some crims – same thing there. So they really can’t see me behind this one way glass? It’s even more bizarre to be so close to someone whose done you wrong, see them twitching, wondering if they can feel your own eyes boring into them. (Video Identity Parades are now it). But at this point as in the YMBBT, they know they are being watched, it’s why they’re in that set up.
Then there’s the thrill of them not knowing you are watching at all, in a live context, you’re really close up, whilst you are able to jump in and see as much as possible. Ideally, they are just going about their business and don’t know you’re right there, looking…Behaviourally, there would be no change in them. I’ve imagined this for a few years and flipping in and out of this state reminds me of the ‘re-do’ in ep3 of Black Mirror. Glazed eyes and no drugs in sight.
Yes, this does all sound very voyeuristic and manipulative. Maybe it’s best to speak to the powers man in Misfits and go invisible – be done with it.