LOOP (2013)

With her work Loop Esther Hunziker researches the webcam’s function as a surveillance medium and an instrument for control freaks. To this end she implements a feedback configuration in which the webcam becomes an observer of itself. The webcam, as the symptom of a surveillance deployment which is chronically aligned to turning its gaze outwards, is therewith robbed of its actual function. This reversal provides insights into the hidden world of digital real-time images.

Full Description

Since our view on the webcam has broadened through its implementation in various fields of society, it can no longer be seen exclusively within the context of voyeurism and surveillance. And yet, the electronic space of the Internet, in which the implementation of the webcam occurs, cannot shake off its control purpose since the data that circulates therein can, nevertheless, be accessed by power mechanisms. The feedback arrangement that Esther Hunziker installs is a system in which the webcam records the screen on which it emits its signal, only to then feed this back to the same screen. Through the feedback effect of the work Loop, the artist takes the idea of a surveillance arrangement ad absurdum. This real-time image is then embedded in the Internet site www.collective-view.ch on which the web users can – through the navigation possibilities – once more exert their influence. Self-organised structural development processes thereby become visible.

With the work Loop the webcam is made to monitor itself. This produces an unforeseen image which circulates without end in the technical transmission. Through being embedded in www.collective-view.ch and the connected possibilities for interaction, it becomes the instrument of the recipients. Consequently, it loses all authority and develops its own dynamic in the transmission process, which is constantly transformed. Esther Hunziker’s enquiry does not concern the efficiency and possibilities of technological renewal, but reveals the webcam technology in combination with its feedback which, with respect to its mediality, has to date hardly been researched. Beyond the possibility of representation, this work allows us to discover the hidden corridors, networks and channels of mediality itself.

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