For this project I was invited to create 8 second videos that would appear among advertising on a giant screen in Toronto. Working on a giant screen that distributes advertising presented some ethical challenges – I've been vocal about being against these kinds of screens in public spaces. But what an opportunity! So I tried to figure out how, in 8 seconds, I could get people to stop looking at the ads.
Each of the videos begins with the words "CLOSE YOUR EYES" and then a short statement:
IMAGINE THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE
FEEL EVERY MOLECULE IN YOUR BODY RAPIDLY VIBRATING
The piece earnestly asks people to stop looking, pull back, see a larger picture, and imagine impossible things. While it's absurd to ask for such things on a giant billboard in the middle of the city, I ask anyway. It's awkward and out of place, and perhaps a chuckle relieves some anxiety, but the idea lingers and the request remains: "will you close your eyes and imagine?"
Yonge and Edward, just north of Dundas Square
Ran from November 5-13, 2011
More at: visitsteve.com/made/close-your-eyes
Cast: Steve Lambert
Tags: Steve Lambert, public space, digital billboard, intervention, art and artist