“Magic Eye”

“The Magic Door” was an educational TV show in the early 70’s in Israel which aimed to teach kids road safety. The show used magic and science-fiction to convey its message, demonstrated by a big eye with a screen inside it that showed the outside world in real time. This ‘eye’ was located at a magician’s store. When a dangerous situation occurred, the magician’s store went haywire and the magician used a magic wheel to pan over the streets to find the location of the hazardous situation. Once located, the magician used a magic bell to make the person in danger appear in the store instantly.

“Magic Door”, 1974
“Magic Eye”, 2008

More than 30 years later, the “magic” of live surveillance cameras has become a common phenomenon. “Magic Eye” is an interactive installation that aims to examine this evolution from science-fiction into reality and to evoke a discussion on the fine line between public safety and government control as well as the conceptual change that happened during those years from naiveté into paranoia.

*(it is just a coincidence that I happened to be the kid star in this show)

installation proposal:

An “eye” composed of 6 customized screens (as in the video “Magic Eye” above)is hung from the ceiling. In front, in the center of the room a wheel made of plexiglas is placed, connected to a bell. Both the bell and the wheel are connected to a computer via a micro-controller in communication with Max/MSP/Jitter. On each circular screen a live stream of traffic from around the world as well as webcams from political areas such as the US-Mexico and Israel-Palestine borders will be projected, as well as closed circuit cameras that would show the viewer as well as the space in real time. The ‘pupil’ of the eye will be made of a small LCD screen that will show the TV show in loop (as in the video “Magic Eye” above). By using the wheel the viewer will be able to pan over the different streams. Once the viewer selects his desired footage on the screen, s/he can use the bell. By ringing the bell, the image from the selected screen will “pop up” in the room inside a TV set accompanied by surrounding light and sound effects. The elements of surveillance as well as magic become real and apparent.

Below is a breakdown of these elements from the original TV show: The relocating “magic”, the Wheel, the Bell, and the Eye