For 24 hours a day, for 28 days, artist Mark Farid will wear a virtual reality headset, seeing and hearing what one person sees and hears for 28 days.
Inspired by the Stanford Prison Experiment (1971), Jean Baudrillard’s Simulacra and Simulation (1981), and Josh Harris’ Quiet: We Live in Public (1999), Seeing I will confine Farid to a gallery space in London, subjected to the simulated life of the project’s Other. With no pre-knowledge of, or existing relationship to the Other, the only details confirmed to Farid will be that the Other is in a relationship and at least eighteen years of age.
For the duration of the project’s 28 days, Farid will experience no human interaction relative to his own life, allowing his indirect relationship with the Other to become Farid’s leading narrative. Will the constant stream of artificial sights and sounds start to displace his own internal monologue?
Adapting the question of nature vs. nurture to the digital age, Seeing I will consider how large a portion of the individual is an inherent self, and how large a portion is a consequence of environmental culture. How many days will it take to alter Farid’s movement, mannerisms, memory or rationale? Without free will to determine who he is, will Farid’s consciousness be enough to deter significant changes?
At Ars Electronica, 2019, in the Atelierhaus Salzamt, we will be doing our final trial run in the build up to the 28-day performance in 2020. This residency will see Farid wear a VR headset for seven days, experiencing a different person’s life every day. This week will culminate on 8th September, with a public conversation between Farid and the project’s Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Tamara Russell.
- Seeing I is commissioned by arebyte Gallery, London, in partnership with the Sundance Institute, the Mindfulness Centre of Excellence, and Imagine Science Film Festival.
- Photos: Sophie le Roux, and Seeing I
- Artist, Producer and Subject: Mark Farid
- Funder and Co-Producer: Nimrod Vardi
- Development of the custom-built recorder: Tadej Vindis (System Design and Project Management)
- System Design and Software Development: Frank Davies
- Product Design: Drew Richards
- Clinical Psychologist: Dr. Tamara Russell
- Ethics, Ergonomics and Biometrics Research: Carl H Smith
- Biometric Research: Mark Ransley
- Documentary Maker: Petri Luukkainen
Mark Farid (UK) is a conceptual artist who examines the formation of our projected self, and how our constructed identity is shaped by societal expectations. Farid graduated from Kingston University, London, with a First Class (Hons) degree in Fine Art in 2014, and has since given talks and participated in group and solo exhibitions in England, France, Germany, Denmark, Finland, Slovenia, UAE, and Japan. Farid gave a TEDx talk in 2017 about his first two projects, Data Shadow (2015), and Poisonous Antidote (2016), and took part in the Sundance New Frontier program in 2016 for an ongoing project, Seeing I (2020). Farid has appeared on Sky News, Fox News, BBC Radio 4, the Guardian, the Independent, the New Statesman, and has written about his work for the Telegraph.