At the very end of Seeing, the current exhibition at the Science Gallery in Dublin, there is a chair in front of a screen.
The screen shows an irregular, slightly blurry, vaguely geometric pattern. If you sit in the chair, this pattern is slowly eroded – jagged lines of it stripped away, a night sky revealed behind.
There’s a sign explaining the work (Suki Chan’s Lucida III), but not many people read it right away: instead they sit down and try to puzzle out exactly what’s going on. A girl with long black hair gets it quickest: “It’s doing what my eyes tell it to”. The piece is tracking her vision and as she looks at the screen, her attention tears off fragment after fragment of the covering image. She cannot look at any part of it without revealing the sky below.
In Seeing, to look at something is not a passive act.