Hey Neighbor

June 2011
80 Washington East Gallery, NYC

We have all been voyeurs at one time or another, scrutinizing others in parks or coffee shops, grocery stores or on the street. In an age of technological convenience and transparency, we have taken on the role of voyeur at home as well, from behind computer screens, shielded by anonymity. It is when the voyeur is safely within the individual household that he/she has the freedom to stare, while the other party remains oblivious.

The inspiration for Hey Neighbor is rooted in Lewis Carroll’s original Alice in Wonderland illustration, in which Alice, after falling down the rabbit hole, comes across a minuscule door that opens up to Wonderland. A voyeur staring into another reality, Alice opens the door to indulge her curiosity. In this installation, the audience is faced with a similar choice of whether to ignore the door that opens up to another person’s private space, or continue to sneakily watch out of guilty pleasure. Hey Neighbor explores the juxtaposition between two realities: the reality of the unseen observer, and that of the observed—in an age where technology can eliminate the thin line between public and private; between what is free and what must be earned to view; and between the visible and invisible.

© Kei Ota