ObserverObject (2010)

Joachim Rotteveel

Sponsor: V2_Lab, Host: V2_Lab

ObserverObject (formerly known as HeadHunters) is the first in a series of self-portraits of Joachim Rotteveel. The work is part of an artistic research about self-portraits in contemporary media.

ObserverObject is a replica of Joachim Rotteveel’s head, equipped with touch/pressure sensors and LED’s behind a flexible silicone skin. Cameras are mounted in the eye sockets with a tracking system that tries to identify and track the face of the observer. When an individual is seen by the head he can manipulate his own image in a 3D environment by moving his head. Pushing on the highlighted spots on the face changes the projected self-image.

In this interactive self-portrait you look through the eyes of the artist -the eyes of the artwork- at yourself. Through an activity involving both touching and looking you become involved in something not unsimilar to drawing. Touching and operating an artificial head gives a very different – and perhaps more intimate – experience of an electronic interface than you generally would expect from electronic devices. In most cases, an apparatus is an extension of the human body, in this design the human form is an extension of the apparatus.


With this work Joachim tries to make people aware of how the process of seeing and being seen works. Seeing is a feedback loop in which the observer is involved in the artwork. The installation ObserverObject is both an object and an observer who is changed by the act of seeing. The object and the observer are one.

This project was developed during a residency as part of a Summer Sessions residency at V2_.