Research: Tamas Waliczky “Focus”

by Beauchamp Art

Tamas Waliczky, Focus

Installation at Surrogate exhibition, ZKM, Germany, 1998. Video produced by ZKM

Whilst reading Lev Manovich’s ‘The Language of the New Media‘, I encountered descriptions of a number of Tamas Waliczy’s works, including ‘The Garden’ and other video works that involved shifting perspective unconventionally. This lead me to look for other examples of Waliczky’s works. As a number of them involve instillation and video elements, finding clear documentation was somewhat problematic, however, this video serves as an interesting example of one of his works that I found particularly poignant.

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In ‘Focus’, the audience member becomes more directly involved in the experience than just a viewer, as they one has to be literally selective in what one chooses to look at. The whole piece cannot be observed in one, and the facsimile of a crowd becomes embodied with a false sense of depth, which gives the illusion of collectivism whilst simultaneously forcing the viewer to isolate the individuals in order to ascertain the details and full extent of the piece. This technologically embodied sense of social subjectivity serves as an interest example of how one may have to be selective from the people and relevant information within one’s environment. In order to make sense of the whole scene, the community, one must observe and comprehend in increments; in order to establish a complete picture, instilled with the individual’s choice of perspective and their own assigned hierarchies of the information presented to them.

It could be seen to reflect the existential aspiration for human omnipotence, even in the wake of a variety of technologies that enable the near-ubiquity of data, visual or otherwise (such as the online distribution of photography, personal and general information through social networks, etc). As well as the biographical connotations of the piece with regards to using figures and narrative relevant to himself; as exemplar of the mapping of one’s memories, through vignettes and so forth.

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