GAZE I + II + III / film installation

gaze I
film installation
10 minutes looped, ruskin gallery, cambridge

This project, together with Gaze II and III, aims to explore and expose the ways in which the media and patriarchal society have influenced our unconscious ways of seeing, and our pleasure in looking. It examines the exploitation of women and the representation of female sexuality, and questions erotic pleasure in imagery. More specifically, it intends to examine the line between when, and whether, a woman is seen as a sexual object or not.

The project aims to challenge established conventions, and conduct a rich investigation into the concept of presentation itself, concerning the sexual objectification of women. Gaze I is presented as a ‘peep show’ of sorts, to be viewed alone by each individual viewer in complete isolation.

In the first of these ‘portraits’, Evelin places the camera in front of a woman, who shaves her pubic hair and masturbates in an intimate bathroom setting. She directed the woman’s actions, guiding her to ‘be herself’ in an effort to capture a performance that transcends mere voyeurism.

The film was presented as a single screen video installation in a small, dark room. The viewer was asked to enter alone, and stay there for as long or little time as they wished. Inside the room was a chair and table, upon which sat a TV displaying the video on a loop, a pair of headphones and writing materials. Viewers were asked to answer a series of questions, and provide any other comments anonymously. The feedback accrued from this process informed the project’s next phase and the following pieces, Gaze II and III.

gaze II + III
cinema style presentation
digital, 22 and 33 minutes, ruskin gallery, cambridge

These projects were informed by the findings of Gaze I, and are a continuation of the same survey. In this phase of project, viewers had to view the pieces publicly, from the beginning until end. They were once again asked to answer a series of questions, and provide any other comments anonymously.

In Gaze II, Evelin films a woman masturbating in an intimate bathroom setting. Rather than leaving the room after positioning the camera, Evelin operated and was present throughout. In Gaze III she asks the woman to imagine performing for male viewers, in an effort to capture a performance that transcends mere voyeurism while also challenging the aspect of the male gaze.

Whereas the first piece was presented to individual viewers in a private setting, Gaze II and III were shown in a cinema space, in order to investigate how various presentation modes and locations can affect viewer expectation, experience and interpretation.

The audience responses, and the feedback they provided throughout all the three phases, supported Evelin's assumptions. Viewers seemed unaware of the media's influence and patriarchal influences on the objectification of women, as well as the subject of fascination and the pleasure in looking.

Evelin aimed to raise awareness of this issue, and to highlight just how present it is by producing a bold confrontation, both in nature and presentation, challenging the audience to question the content they normally consume.