As inside as the eye can see

single channel video, 07'00"

Two eyes yearn to see each other as close as they can, enter each other's space and reach intimacy through looking. Which turns to be a futile effort, without distance we can't see. So close but unable to see more than a blurred image.

The story of an obsession - seeing as close as physically possible -, that has visual blindness as consequence. Nonetheless, a different outcome takes place, the gaze becomes haptic, perceiving instead through the eyelashes' rubbing. A resulting image embodying a physical eye that beats, touches and relates intimately.

"Sanchez may very well be described as an ‘eye artist’, for in this work she interrogates what seeing is, how we see seeing, and she challenges the viewer to look at seeing in terms of closeness and proximity to what is seen [...]

There are at least two kinds of looking that can be investigated in this work. On the one hand, it is the looks exchanged between the two bodies on screen. On the other, it is the way in which viewers look at the work, an overwhelming close-up of the two eyes. Viewed from either position, instead of enabling objective knowing, looking is shown to be paradoxical. The bodies on screen cannot visually recognise each other; they are too close to do so. Similarly, although viewers can see the image, they may feel limited by their exclusion from the intimate exchange taking place on a monumental scale in front of them.16 And yet, the viewer cannot deny feeling ‘in touch’ with (perhaps overwhelmed by) what is seen. In fact, far from being excluded, distanced and detached, it is tempting to suggest that the viewer’s eyes wander over the surface of the video projection – the screen – caressing and touching the images on screen as the eyes they see caress and touch each other. We are drawn not only into the image, but also into the intimate, even erotically charged exchange we see before us [...]

In As inside as the eye can see we are compelled to interact with the enlarged close-up image of (hairy) textural skin, wet eyeballs and scratchy eye-lashes, as if we ourselves were getting ‘up close’ to the image as we are, at the same time, ‘eyeing them out’ [...]

When recognizing that we interact with this work in this way, and that we are in a complex interchange with it, it is no longer possible to assume that the work represents a rational space that is ordered and controlled by the power of the gaze (of the subject) as is presupposed in Cartesian perspectivalism. Instead, Sanchez forces the viewer to acknowledge that knowing and understanding can emerge through the irrational, intimate sense of touch [...]

Jenni Lauwrens, Can you see what I mean? DEARTE, 2012