'52 E 7TH St'
Albert Dang, MFA Design and Technology
Christopher Dye, MFA Design and Technology
Hee Jung, MFA Design and Technology
Kanyang Li, MFA Design and Technology
"'52 E 7th St' is an exploration of the voyeuristic tendencies that people have in public and private spaces. In the film Rear Window, Alfred Hitchcock demonstrates how observing others in this way often leads to blending perceptions of the eye with perceptions of the mind, thereby forming a dynamic narrative for the viewer to make interpretations of what he sees in both a conscious and subconscious manner. Here, the viewer faces an installation of screens that represents an apartment building. Each screen is depicts an individual apartment created using The Sims, except for one that is a live web camera feed of one of the artist’s apartments (rendered to look as if it were also a simulated environment). The choice to use The Sims as a medium highlights how voyeuristic behavior objectifies our subject matter in order to make this process of interpretation more apparent. The abstraction of form allows the viewer to project his own self on the depicted person. Through the use of a live web camera feed, '52 E 7th St' suggests that the projection of self from viewing the abstract also occurs when viewing real people in this way."
Tyler's take: Despite the description’s overuse of pretentious language, this piece is conceptually stronger than the last. But what it explores - our tendency to project our lives onto those of observed subjects - is the entire concept behind The Sims. The piece is a description of its medium – a portrayal of the very reason The Sims is popular, as opposed to an insightful new take on the human condition.
Despite what is written in the description, the live webcam aspect was contrived only to add some superficial techno-interest to the piece. If the windows had only contained Sims, we would have had to make the connection to real people ourselves, and that subtlety would have elevated the impact of the work significantly.