You can watch me. For 15 years now I have been following the traces of public webcams: cameras installed in public or private spheres that automatically record images and spread them via internet. I research where they are located, travel there, and get myself photographed. New York and Moscow, London, Las Vegas and Singapore – I went to more than 650 webcams in 18 countries. So far.
On location, I place myself in front of the camera. As “The Traveller” I stare back. Same clothes, same pose, every time. You can recognize me in every image. You can watch me. A lot of questions arise. Who sets up these automated cameras, and why? What do they show? Are people aware of them? Who needs these images? Who looks at them? Does the presence of a camera alter a site? What constitutes a photographic image in terms of content, authorship or quality?
“The Traveller” examines global spread of imagery between irrelevance, amusement, information and surveillance, and the aesthetics involved. Among many other places, “The Traveller” encountered the legendary coffee machine where the world’s first webcam was pointed, the ESA European Space Agency main control room, a huge cactus observed by four cameras, numerous street corners and backyards, and the inside of a New York police station – arrested for strange behavior.
The Traveller is a collaborative project with Bernhard Reuss.
Jens Sundheim (b. 1970 Germany) studied Information Science, then Photography in Dortmund and Exeter, England. He attended the master course Arno Fischer at Ostkreuzschule Berlin in 2010 and received his MA Photography at HAW Hamburg in 2013. For his work, Sundheim has received several awards including grants by Goethe-Institut Moscow and the European Union, and recently a scholarship for an artist residency in Gotland, Sweden.
Sundheim’s work has been shown at festivals and exhibitions worldwide including The New York Public Library, Rencontres d’Arles Photographie Festival, Triennale der Photographie Hamburg, Fotomuseum Antwerp, Tokyo Museum of Photography, NCCA Moscow and apexart New York. In 2017 and 2018, his works are featured as part of the Japan Media Arts Festival exhibition “Landscapes: New vision through multiple windows” in Singapore, “STARS – Cosmic Art from 1900 up to the Present” at Lentos Art Museum in Linz, Austria, and in a solo exhibition at PhotoIreland Festival in Dublin.
Ctrl+P: Photography taken offline is an initiative at Catherine Edelman Gallery inspired by the hundreds of photographs we see on blogs and online galleries. Started in January 2011, Ctrl+P provides further exposure for new artists we find while searching the web, exhibiting a small selection of one person’s work every two months, taking the pictures offline and putting them on the wall. It is our goal that Ctrl+P will provide further exposure for these photographers away from the glow of a computer monitor and without the temptation to click to the next link. We hope you will join us by unplugging from the Internet and visiting CEG to see these photographs the way they were intended—in print.