Coralie Vogelaar | Gazeplot | 2017 29.02. – 18.10.2020 | Fotomuseum Winterthur


From Gazeplot, C-print, 2017 © Coralie Vogelaar
Coralie Vogelaar, Gazeplot, 2017, SITUATION #197, SITUATIONS/The Right to Look, installation view at Fotomuseum Winterthur, 2020 © Philipp Ottendörfer

In Gazeplot, Coralie Vogelaar exposes the relation between human and machinic gaze in the context of online news images. The work builds on the artist’s research to compare the online popularity of images – indexed by Google based on their reproduction rate – with an analysis of the looking behaviour of viewers. Employing eye tracking technology to capture and compare the different gazes of 12 participants exposed to a total of 500 press images, Vogelaar reveals a correlation between the popularity of an image and the gaze’s focus, identifying a heightened attention for certain compositional patterns. As the data would suggest, our looking behaviour is (pre-)constructed by the millions of images we have been exposed to, so that we instinctively search for familiar patterns and visual elements that have informed and trained our gaze. Overlaying heat maps and diagrams on the original image sources to expose the regions of visual interest, Gazeplot reveals a pattern to detect successful and unsuccessful news images. The unsuccessful images are prone to be ignored by both the eye and the indexing algorithm, as Google will display the least successful ones at the very bottom of the image search where they are hardly seen and will eventually be deleted. Gazeplot thus reveals the complicity of human attention and algorithmic visual analysis as they spawn a standardised “successful” gaze that promotes a uniform image typology.

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