Refracted Vision

Currently on view at the Austrian Cultural Forum, in London, is Judith Fegerl's 'White Light,' a triptych of installations executed in red, green, and blue that isolates frequently overlooked quirks of vision. The first section, 'Read Only Memory,' employs a series of lasers to read information left on a collection of Fegerl's used contact lenses. The imprint of her eyes refracts the beams into patterns that are usually invisible. The second installation, 'Teardrop Floaters,' algorithmically translates the eye movements of viewers into simulations of the particles that drift across the wet outer layer of one's eye, abstracting a banal phenomenon into a dizzying performance. The final installation, titled 'Will-of-the-Wisp,' is a pitch-dark room filled with sporadically flickering LEDs. When each one turns on, viewers' eyes adjust to the glow. When they go out, a faint trace remains on their retinas, exploiting a typically-ignored form of physical memory to draw elaborate patterns. Fegerl's attention to the biological systems that underpin visual media insists that the body is a necessary factor in any critique of contemporary technologies. - Bill Hanley