May 2 - Juni 14, 2009
What are we looking at when we’re looking at something and how precisely are we looking at it? And is our way of looking perhaps just as personal as our handwriting? These questions have intrigued designer Christien Meinderstma (1980) for some time now, reason why she eagerly accepted MU’s invitation to delve deeper into the matter.
“It would be fascinating, wouldn’t it, if it turns out that we all look at the same things in a slightly different way, if a designer looks at things differently than a bicycle mender or a judge does, and a seven-year-old differently again than a seventy-year-old, just to mention a few examples.”
To investigate this issue, Meindertsma will establish a viewing laboratory in MU in De Witte Dame between May 1 and June 14. Built on an older experiment that she and Joris Laarman carried out some time ago in the Textielmuseum, this viewing laboratory will register every visitor’s way of looking by means of eye-trackers and reproduce the result on the spot.
How do you look, for example, at a cup or a slice of bread, a bicycle or a sowingmachine? The eye-tracker follows the movements of your eyes, while a large drawing robot with a thick marker attached to the other end reproduces the viewing pattern of your eyes on paper. The same question applies to looking at your own reflection; are you looking at your eyes, your nose, your mouth, or the shape of your head? The eye-tracker registers it accurately and, linked to a printer, print out your self-portrait on the spot. The aim is to have accumulated several hundreds of eye-drawn portraits and objects at the end of the trajectory.
To Meindertsma, this collection is in turn a source of inspiration for further investigation. Not the kind of investigation that a marketeer or a scientist would conduct, but a designer’s kind of investigation. And it goes without saying that, if they wish, visitors can take their drawings home with them.
Although technical and experimental by design, ‘Spectators’ is completely in line with the oeuvre that Meindertsma has built up since her graduation from Design Academy Eindhoven in 2003. Time and again she succeeds in surprising the audience with profound and creative research resulting in intriguing visual reports that win world-wide admiration. Her graduation project Checked Bagage/Baggage is included in the collections of the MOMA, the Victoria & Albert Museum, and Caldic. And last year, she won with her book PIG 05049 the Golden Eye Dutch Design Award as well as the Rado Young Designer of the Year Award.
The Spectators Viewing Laboratory is made possible by Tobii eye-trackers and Buhrmann Ubbens
On Thursday evening may 28 form 9 pm onwards, the exhibition hosts the cultural talk & walk show Pols Hoogte hosted by Andrea van Pol. Christien Meindertsma will be present to elaborate on her project.
On sunday june 14, the last day of the exhibition we close the project with a special afternoon in which experts from different fields will dig deeper into the resuts of Makers & Spectators. This afternoon starts at 3 pm and is free of admission.