External Observer is an interactive sculpture that was exhibited in the Art Station Dubulti in Latvia. The sculpture had the function of an observation cluster; when the visitors looked through the two viewing holes placed in the solid’s triangular faces, they were seeing themselves being observed and recorded on screens by hidden security cameras. They were faced with an image of themselves being exposed from an alternative, less familiar angle.
In a similar way to Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon, the urban environment uses the element of surveillance as a tool in structuring and forming its functions. The idea of the perpetual feeling of being observed, while limited to a certain space is linked to modern urban life. The city is a repressive and controlling system, a place where everything is being observed. The sculpture’s geometric form is inspired by the various optical prisms placed within observation mechanisms, such as telescopes and binoculars. The use of prisms for enlarging and correcting the image and the symmetric crystallographic structures used within these tools imply a controlled form of observation. The object is covered by a familiar and warm texture, as well as a friendly and appealing colour, yet it hides the ideas of oppression and authority, highlighting the opposition between the element of security and comfort that the city provides and the notion of dominance and supervision deriving from a state of constant control. My purpose was to create an object that would be enigmatic as a form, inviting in its materiality and dominant due to its size. Its complexity had the purpose of allowing the viewer to interact with it from different aspects and comprehend it in multiple layers regarding its texture, colour, form and lastly discovering the element of observation.