When We Look Up engages a viewer’s body in the visual experience of reading a digital poem in a gallery setting by challenging how we conventionally view video. The poem is projected downwards onto the surface of vellum that is inset within a pedestal. As a way to evoke how we look down at a book or a mobile device, When We Look Up experiments with a visual reading of semiotic hypertext and rhythm in the virtual field of a projected video.
Each line of the poem is typed out and then dissolves, leaving a mark on the screen as the next line appears. Similar to the way in which we scroll through text on a computer screen, the piece emphasizes the loss of language and how digital technology is changing the way in which we display and reflect upon language. The text’s narrative slips in and out of time, mirroring the space created by technology in a long distance relationship, while questioning how we use technology to mitigate distance in our relationships.
The overall design of the installation is a comment on how we look down to connect with our computers and cell phones. We slip into the digital world and once we have finished with what we were doing on the device, we look back up to connect again with the space around us. Adjacent to the projection is a framed platinum print of a lifesaver. The text from the poem claims that the lifesaver is a faded orange, but the print depicts the lifesaver in sepia tones. My intention to print the photograph in platinum is to play with the notion that we do not remember our memories in color.