The Visible Spectrum

This piece by artist David Spriggs explores the possibilities and limitations to human vision. The title, Visible Spectrum refers to the portion of electromagnetic waves that are capable of being detected by the human eye, and highlights the extensions of these capabilities through the use of surveillance technologies. The piece asks the viewer to question the relationship between that which is visible in contrast to that which is unseen. The work depicts a scale projection of truck with 100 life-size figures in the trailer. The video animation utilizes layering methods present in Sprigg’s other works, and scans the length of the truck to pay attention to each of the different figures. In the artist’s own words: “The animation presents a reimagined vision of a semi-truck and trailer under X-ray in a way that is not possible with the existing technology that only provides very low-quality imagery on a single plane. Influenced by the electromagnetic spectrum the people inside the trailer are depicted in a manner reminiscent of a combination of CT scans, MRIs, and thermal images. In this artwork, technology and the human body are placed in opposition to one another. The semi-truck is represented in a very cool, dark blue while inside the trailer the viewer witnesses an ever-changing dance of forms that becomes hypnotic, like a symphony of colours that expands and contracts.” This work re-visualizes the expectations of surveillant looking, and connects it with other issues concerning border controls, immigration, smuggling, and collective securities vs. individual privacy and civil liberties. This work first premiered at Arsenal Montreal for Spriggs’s solo exhibition PRISM, which also included his works Transparency Report and The Logic of Control.

Client:David Spriggs, The Visible Spectrum, 2015. Digital video projection installation on a 4 minute loop. Image courtesy of the artist. © David Spriggs.
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