Alexander Jackson Whyatt – ‘Observer’


In an essay titled ‘Hapticity and Time: Notes on Fragile Architecture’, Juhani Pallasmaa argues that vision has become the dominant sense, with much of design and architecture created with primarily ocular responses in mind. With many aspects of life being conducted through one technological platform or another, it’s easy to identify with Pallasmaa’s concept of a visual hegemony. This focus on responding only to the visual arguably creates a deprivation of other sensory experiences, and in turn, a sensitivity for other modalities. 

If creating a visually dominant culture has increased our responsiveness to other sensory experiences, perhaps it is useful to further examine our role as an observer, and how we effect and even alter that which we observe. Our individual perceptions colour the sensory information we receive. In this sense, we are mirrored back to ourselves. Our interpretations of visual or other sensory information presents us with an opportunity to learn about our own perception. A window is then also a kind of mirror into the space between the observer and what is observed. 

For ‘Observe’, Alexander Jackson Wyatt interferes with the architectural features of A-CH Gallery, appropriating the main window of the gallery space, imagery from failed Polish housing projects and an exhibit titled AUFTRAG; BEOBACTUNG (TASK: OBSERVE) from the Stasi Museum. Through the connections created between the appropriated images and architectural features, Jackson Wyatt encourages both a critique and an extension of the use of our visual sense, asking viewers to develop a heightened awareness of their position as an observer. The exhibition will also feature diverse responses by Alrey Batol, Rachael Archibald, and Kiah Reading.
Writing by Kate Mackenzie
Images by Marek Rygielski