Eyeballing, a film program curated by Lisa Oppenheim and Mike Sperlinger, features films by Rosalind Nashashibi, Paul Strand and Charles Sheeler, and Karl Kels. The program includes three films which are connected through a shared perspective of the Manhattan streetscape. Each film presents the camera as a means of a poetic and critical examination of city life. It is through this method that the city becomes a symphony, a stage, and a space that returns our gaze, rather than one which monitors our actions.
Eyeballing (2005), by London-based artist Rosalind Nashashibi (b. 1973, England) anthropomorphizes everyday objects and architecture of an urban landscape, such as toothbrushes and manhole covers. These situations, usually featuring eyes, a nose, and mouth, engage the viewer through the artist’s camera lens. Emphasis is drawn on their voyeurism through polarizing footage of New York City police officers standing around a station house doorway.
Manhatta (1921) is by American photographer Paul Strand (b. 1890, New York – d. 1976, Paris) and artist Charles Sheeler (b. 1883, Pennsylvania – d. 1965 New York). The film is a City Symphony film; a predominately silent era genre of documentary filmmaking that was both structured by and composed of images of everyday life in different urban centers.
Sidewalk (2008) by Karl Kels (b. 1960, Germany) was made while the Berlin-based artist was in working in residency in Lower Manhattan. The film consists of shots from his window onto the sidewalk below through different seasons, climate conditions, and traffic events. The static position of the camera produces a counterpoint to the changes of weather and urban life occurring within the frame.
Photos by Austin Kennedy.