Tracking the Loving Gaze

Heat maps on black
2017 / Exhibition

A collaboration project with Theopisti Stylianou-Lambert. We asked 30 people to lend us a photograph they loved or one with a very special meaning for them. Then we used an eye tracker—a device usually used in psychology, marketing, and human-computer interaction research—to measure the point of the gaze (i.e. where one is looking) and its duration. An eye-tracker provides raw visual data, such as heat maps, focus maps, or scan paths. For us, this visual data was the primary source for this work.

Tracking the loving gaze: Heat Maps
For the first part of the project, Tracking the Loving Gaze: Heat Maps, we transferred the participants’ heat maps to film and then developed them in the darkroom on gelatin silver print paper. Effectively, we started with photographs provided by the participants, tracked the participants’ “loving gaze” with the help of a technological device, and fixed that gaze on photographic paper in a traditional darkroom. The thirty pieces are unique, one-off works as is our experience with a photograph we love.

Tracking the loving gaze: Absences
The second part of the project, Tracking the Loving Gaze: Absences, consists of five images provided by participants. However, it’s impossible for the viewer to see what the owner of the photograph sees. The area most viewed by the owner is obscured.

1. “My only sister”, Myrofora, 20 years old; 2. “The little girl”, Christina, 19 years old; 3. “Exit”, Artemis, 21 years old; 4. “My best friend”, Mikaella, 19 years old; 5. “Lion king”, Alexis, 21 years old.

Tracking the loving gaze: Scan Paths
Finally, the project’s third part, Tracking the Loving Gaze: Scan Paths, is an installation of four videos. The visitor can follow the gaze of a photograph owner in real time.