Nosy Parker
Balance and Power, Krannert Art Museum


  • Interactive Installation

Nosy Parker - a term used to describe someone meddlesome, also sometimes used synonymously with Big Brother - is designed as an intervention in a gallery space showing a video exhibition on surveillance and performance. Four stools pretend to be simple gallery furniture provided for visitors’ convenience. People can sit down, have a rest and observe the spectacle of the surrounding videos. However, once a person sits down on a stool, a camera embedded in the stool looking up, a quasi eye, starts taking pictures.

These pictures get projected floating around the occupied seat. Once more than one stool is occupied, the images from each stool start floating towards each other, thereby invoking a social exchange between visitors, possibly complete strangers. The floating images take on different behaviors such as encircling, “sniffing”, trading places. The situation is reminiscent of dog owners in a park brought together by the mutual curiosity of their dogs.

Nosy Parker engages the museum visitor as a performer, sometimes an unintentional one. In a humorous manner, it highlights the loss of control we are submitted to under surveillance. Once an image is captured it takes on an autonomous life. At the same time the installation exposes our fascination with acting for the camera. It also suggests the potentially positive communicative power of surveillance technology by invoking a social exchange between people.