Self Destructive Behavior


Alternative titles: don't look at me. 

  • The Idea
    • A TV screen is slowly destroyed by the act of people looking at it.
    • A flatscreen or CRT monitor has a motorized mechanism attached to it that slowly presses, drills, drops onto, or squeezes the screen until it eventually completely breaks and shuts off.
    • The screen would have a camera facing visitors that come to watch the installation. Using facial detection to look for open eyes, the software would slowly increment a counter for every second an eye was watching the screen.
    • After a random, or pre-determined amount of time, the screen would crack, break or otherwise be rendered broken. 
  • Why do I like this idea?
    • Screens hold a lot of power for us as humans. They are simultaneously displaying content and providing a reflection of our society (as well as literally reflecting our physicality). Screens are objects of contemplation. As screen technology advances, they (essentially) never age or feel worn, their presence is only eroded by newer technologies that promise higher resolution, brighter colors, and more vivid reality.
    • The infinite usability of screens is part of their power. You can send content through them for years and years before a component breaks down. Like a well worn reference book at a library, or your favorite shirt eventually getting too tattered to wear in public - What if the act of watching a screen actually caused it to physically degrade and destroy itself?
    • Screens usually need to be looked at and watched to have power, but that power shouldn't go unchecked. In recent years, digital wellness tools have started to give people a better awareness of their screentime, and there is a growing body of evidence about various negative consequences for spending too much time looking at them.
  • What do I have so far?
    • Really just the idea at this point.
  • Next Steps/Where I'm stuck
    • The type of destruction of the screen is the biggest part I'm stuck on. It could be a simple as something that just gets released and slams into the screen after a period of time, or it could be something that is more gradual. I like the drama of tension and sudden release, but that also means the moment of destruction might just be viewed by one person. Erosion of the screen over time could also be compelling, but much less dramatic.
    • LCD screens are so thin, only a millimeter or two, that the tolerance to actually break the glass via drill/pressure wouldn't take much - even just a few turns of a screw would do it, but might only destroy a corner of the screen and leave the rest largely visible. 
    • Related to the above, it would be difficult to determine how long a screen could last under pressure if I was trying to make this last for hours or days of viewing. This is why a concept like "once this screen is watched for 6 hours, a hammer is released into the screen, rendering it a fractured broken mosaic" might be more cut and dry in terms of R&D versus trying to determine how many turns of a screw are required to crack the glass.
    • Conceptual Problems:
      • If I did this, is this just wasteful? It is destruction without being forward facing or more transformative. 
      • One could argue that it is not the screens themselves that are the problem I'm taking issue with, but the systemic issues of content consumption and how we've essentialy hacked our brains to want to keep watching compelling content.
      • I feel like there is a reference out there that I'm missing - someone has to have done something similar before. Maybe a Nam June Paik piece I don't know of that has a very similar story. Something about this one feels like it has been done before. I was sent this reference of "Wandering Gaze" by Ana Teresa Vincente that slowly physically destroys a photograph when people look at it.
      • Maybe borrow soem thinking from the reference of Chris Burden's Samson
  • Technologies Involved
    • Screen
    • Camera
    • Lighting
    • Motorized elements for destroying the screen
  • Logistical thoughts
    • Not much here yet - the main logistical issue could be safety, depending on how the screen is destroyed. I would probably want to make some safegaurds that automatically turn off the power to the screen once it is destroyed so there isn't a risk of fire/overheating/shock.
  • Are there other elements that could make this better?
    • One of the bigger issues with this is the wastefulness. We already have problems with planned obsolescence, so destroying an LCD screen may not be the most compelling thing. 
  • Diagrams, Images, Photos
    • [TBD]

Selected Works

Pen Plotter WorkPersonal Projects

Circle DrawingsPersonal Project

Polarizer ArtworkPhysical artwork with linear polarizers

TV TelescopeWatching TV from a mile away

Extruded ScreenFiber optic filament display

You're on TVLive TV face swap

i miss you, neighborConnecting local strangers and friends

Self Destructive BehaviorScreen that slowly breaks itself

Hold TimePersonal photo blitz

Movie Stickers100,000 stickers in a room

7up | Music Lifts You UpCommercial Work

Google | Project Re:BriefCommercial Work

Shen Wei Dance ArtsArts Collaboration

Lexus | Trace Your RoadCommercial Work

IBM | Outthink Hidden ARCommercial Work

Samsung | Liquid CanvasCommercial Work

Other Professional WorkVarious Projects

Color A SoundAnalog/digital Instrument

Fake LoveFormer Experience Design Company

Sonic SculpturesPersonal Projects

street_crtPersonal Projects

Music VideosCollaborative video art

Older WorkPersonal Projects

Older Live Visuals WorkAudiovisual explorations 2006-2016