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Experimental Design

Bader Esbaitah

Bader has a background in Sculpture, having earned a BA (Hons) in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins. He has a great interest in the use of cybernetics within his work by using a feedback loop system (in which his work is adjusted over time by the feedback collected through the viewers interaction to the work).

Over the past few years his interests moved towards surveillance capitalism and how we have internalised the Idea of constantly being watched. He looked at ways in which how we lose control over our privacy by creating work that provokes these issues to make the viewer more aware of how to gain control over their privacy.

His practice involves creating big installations that allow the viewer to walk in and around the work. He believes that the scale and the work being site-specific are an essential part of the work. More recently his work started to be displayed on multiple dimensions, where the work is both interactive on multiple dimensions.

Degree Details

School of Communication

Experimental Design

I have made interactive work that studies the structure of cybernetic systems, abiding to their controlled relations with an encounter to project how I might come to understand and potentially take hold of the structures of human nature. I achieve this by setting out structures that may only be perceived wholly by way of a certain set of rules that I have configured, as the viewer may come to interact with this work. Using surveillance has enabled me to document a person's introspection, which over time has helped reconfigure these structures to eventually produce an emblematic structure that perfectly reviews the observer’s reaction as I have preconceived. The use of herd mentality was taken into consideration while creating this work for further understanding.

Investigating the practices of artists who evoke issues of surveillance in conjunction with authoritarian systems, the varied uncovered approaches, has reconfigured the systematic approach that acts as the foundation of my practice.

One fundamental piece of research, an essential core of my practice, has been the uncovering of the experimental laboratory, the Panopticon, which studies the modifications of human behaviour within the governed disciplines of surveillance. I began looking at ways in which I can metaphorically use the Panopticon as a tool within my work to further provoke the viewer.

Living in an era which has adapted itself to the onlooking of unknown watchers, my work has come to position itself along this questioning of location and monitoring which confuse the boundaries between being observed and being an observer.

In creating such work that involves surveillance, I have realised that it leaves some viewers feeling vulnerable and unwilling to fully partake in such experimentations. Targeting issues of control to manipulate the viewer raises issues of ethics surrounding surveillance, and raises questions concerning the amount of authority I as an artist have over the control of others. It also opens up the question of how I might problematise power without replicating its problematic nature upon the viewer.

As such boundaries have arisen, I have chosen to consider how the viewer might seize control over being watched or who they may want to observe. By dispersing different formalities of surveillance throughout different locations, using different backgrounds has produced a more ethical grounding, brought about by integrating an element of choice. This is achieved by allowing the viewers to access both positions by exchanging roles, the observer and the observed. My role as an artist is to not seize control over the viewer, but rather to create a surface using methods of control to give authority to the viewer towards other viewers.

This is evident in in a piece called, ‘Watch yourself/Watch others’, where the viewer stands in front of a two-way mirror and a hidden camera. The mirror acts as a reflection of one’s self-image through the gaze of others allowing the viewer to see what the observers see. At the same time, their reflection is then live-fed online for others to see.


Watch yourself/ watch others
Live-Feed
Model

This piece of work was created after a series of multiple works that tackled issues of mass surveillance and how the panopticon is seen today.

This work finally unfolds the panopticon and allows the viewer view surveillance from new perspectives instead of the traditional way. This is done by looking at the Panopticon from the outside-in rather than the inside-out.

This Prism-like structure invites the viewer to enter the work from a smaller opening creating and intimate relationship between the mirror and viewer while in a gallery space. Similar to being in a Phone-booth, the scenario allows the viewer to be in a private space and a public surrounding simultaneously. In a way this allows the viewer to gain back control.

After the viewers visit the work, they can scan a barcode that gives them access to the live feed so they can view other viewers watch themselves or watch themselves, watch themselves.



Medium:

Wood, Two-way mirror, cctv

Size:

200CM x 200CM
model video

TEXT:

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