Peepshow (H., these are not peasant boots)1’ x 1’ x 5’
Peepshow (Jasper Memory)2’ x 3’ x 4’
Peepshow (Jasper Memory) and Peepshow (H. These are not Peasant Boots) are both viewing devices that construct a barrier between the viewer and object. Peepshow (Jasper Memory) is the latest variation of the idea, taking the essential parts that enable an image to be projected (a light, lens, and enclosed space) making a simple, working opaque projector that can simultaneously be viewed into through the peepholes installed on the side. This simple form of the opaque projector separates the construction from commercial projectors, situating the work as an object to be experimented with for its functionality as is seen in the approach to constructions of early optical devices.
The simple exterior creates an undeniable barrier between the viewer and the object illuminated within the projector: the only contact the viewer has with the object is either by viewing the projected image or by peering into the enclosure. The result is that the object inside the projector is viewed solely as an image. The object of the viewer's gaze therefore remains out of contact and thus incomplete: as if one viewed a visitor through a peephole but did not open the door. Although this door between the viewer and object remains closed, the projection and the peepholes entice further investigation into the enclosure and of the object.
By creating a distance between viewer and subject Peepshow demonstrates, what aesthetician Mikel Dufrenne stated on the aesthetic object as a perceived object, “a truth which continually eludes perception, although perception always has an inkling of it” (Dufrenne 222). The truth or understanding of the artwork is reached for by the viewer as he perceives and explicates the object within the Peepshow. It is in being perceived by the viewer that the object within the enclosure is elevated into an artwork—the truth which the sculpture contains is realized only in the viewer's perception of it. By projecting an image of the object, the viewer cannot contact the object as an object so must act to perceive it through the device. The opaque projector and peepholes together as a device strips the object of its objectness but enables it to be viewed in the round, leaving the artwork (the truth of the object) perceptible but out of reach.
Peepshow (H., These are not peasant boots) is a joke about Heidegger's misinterpretation of the boots in Van Gogh’s painting APair of Shoes, yet at the same time the work is in line with some of Heidegger’s ideas on aesthetics and phenomenology. Peepshow (H) does not function as an artwork unless it is viewed: the exterior is nothing more than a confrontation. By viewing into the Peepshow(H) you will find the work of art and with it a “thing,” becoming inside one in the same.