sea/see/saw is a temporary kinetic sculpture constructed from 14,000 used eyeglass lenses by artists Caitlind r.c. Brown & Wayne Garrett. Currently installed on the historic façade of Pera Museum in Istanbul, the sculpture was designed to mirror the dynamic and shimmering surface of the Golden Horn (Bosphorus) below. Introducing chaotic movement to the otherwise static structure, sea/see/saw creates pixelated ripples across the face of the building, as drawn by the wind. Built from incremental, readily available elements (eyeglasses) that merge to create a simple, geometric form (a circle), the sculpture invites the viewer to engage in a momentary shift of perspective.
If eyes are “windows to the soul,” how do lenses revise our vision of the world around us? What presences are evoked by thousands of human objects, especially materials so tied to essential mechanisms of sight? Do our former accessories carry faint ghosts of those who used them? What lies between what I see and what you see, and how can we harness our collective sight as a tool for collaborative vision? How do museums act as lenses through which we perceive culture?
As the materiality of the installation becomes apparent, the watchers become the watched, and this spectacle of spectacles takes on another subtext – as an icon for collective vision, compound perspectives, and the power of collaborative sight.
Conceived in response to Pera Museum’s historic façade (the former face of Hotel Bristol, erected in 1893) in celebration of the museum’s 10th Anniversary, sea/see/saw invites viewers to re-examine a familiar space through a new lens. Museums change our perceptions of culture, art, history, and our current time and place. sea/see/saw’s use of lenses playfully speaks to changes in perception, celebrating Pera Museum’s contribution to Istanbul’s cultural landscape, with an eye focused on the future.
As outreach to the broader public, the artists invited communities in Istanbul and Calgary, Canada (their hometown) to contribute unwanted eyewear to the installation. A majority of the glasses were sourced from the Canadian Lions Eyeglass Recycling Centre, an entity working internationally to aid millions of vision-impaired people around the world. The lenses used for the sculpture were from eyeglasses that CLERC was unable to recycle, and acquired through a modest donation. To donate glasses in Canada, visit: www.clerc.ca
Special Thanks to our 33 Calgary-based volunteers, CLERC, the amazing team at Pera Museum, our families, and the fabrication team at Atölye Demirtaş Restorasyon Konservasyon Sergileme Üniteleri.