We heard how dangerous it could get outdoors with all of the traffic-crossings, pollen, UV rays and so on, and so we decided to stay inside and paint our walls with a live stream of the outside world…
For those less familiar with such witchcraft, this phenomenon is known as ‘camera obscura’…
First decoded by none other than legendary Arabic scientist, Alhazen, the surreal projections of light through a pinhole have been observed across a myriad of generations, eras and cultures.
Using no more than materials essentially considered rubbish, is it astounding to realise this simple manipulation of light we currently bask in is what eventually lead to development of the device currently reshaping the landscape of art: The camera.
For the cowardly like-minded, here is how you can experience your perilous surroundings from the darkness of your comfortable room.
You will need:
- A piece of cardboard… or twenty
- Some tape
- A window
First, lock your doors, kill the lights and block the windows with cardboard as though you are expecting visitors.
Next, using your sharp implements of cutting (I.E. scissors, knife or claws in our case), gouge a hole somewhere in the dead off-center of your cardboard curtain.
And that’s it! The sunlight entering through the aperture in your cardboard will now project an inverted image of the treacherous outdoor realm onto your dark walls, floors and ceiling.
Just as your pupil currently projects an inverted image of your dirty computer screen (or LCD if you happen to be part of the smartphone revolution) onto your retina while you read this questionable tutorial, we roll up the catnip and lazily lounge like domestic felines in the achievement of converting our room into a giant eyeball. If we had 35ft film (rather than 35mm) upon the wall, we would perhaps be inside one of the biggest pinhole cameras ever…
In the 15 – 20 minute it takes for our eyes to adjust to the darkness, they become 1 million times more sensitive and we can observe the progression of outside life with nearly as much clarity as a television. Trees blowing the wind, pedestrians crossing roads, cars navigating traffic lights and clouds drifting quietly by.
And if you’re really ambitious, you can set up a camera and capture a time-lapse of all of these happenings for future reference: