Ways of Seeing

Morag Myerscough and Luke Morgan's camera obscura installation in Mexico makes us view the city in a new light.

This month, Mexico City hosts its an annual design festival 'Abierto Mexicano de Diseño Festival.' The festival aims to encourage high quality design in public spaces. This year, in the centre of the city’s Zócalo Square, design duo Morag Myersough and Luke Morgan have designed a landmark camera obscura installation named Ways of Seeing. Based on this year’s theme 'Solutions,' the artists wanted to give people a refreshing perspective on how they look, see and think about things. The front of the installation reads 'Mirar Y Ver' translating as 'Look and See' in English. It encourages people to enter the installation whilst also making an underlying statement about the difference between looking and seeing.

Scaffolding, fixed with swings to play on, stages the bright and bold wooden structure. Once you’ve climbed the stairs, there is a raised platform that allows visitors to view the city from an unseen perspective. In the centre of the installation, through a dark portal, you are guided into the life-sized camera obscura which creates an optical upside-down world of the outside environment. The obscura is an ancient process that involves no modern technology and relies on a dark space and a small pin hole to allow light inside.

According to Morag, “the camera obscura scene from the 1946 film 'A Matter of Life and Death' by Powell and Pressburger had been embedded in my brain since I saw it as a child. When I revisited the film I realise I had no memory of the rest of the film only this single scene which I recall amazed me and ever since then I have been fascinated with the simplicity of the camera obscura, that it was almost like magic.”

The beautiful geometric project lit up central Mexico for five days during late October 2015.

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