Broodthaers Society of America
L'oeil Vigilant
SEASON 3: The Conquest of Space

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L’oeil Vigilant is a poetry magazine published in the form of a surveillance feed for your smartphone. As the images above hint, Season 3 will focus on the daily progress (or lack thereof) in the construction of a 30-storey luxury condominium tower on the banks of the Harlem River in the South Bronx.







As such, Season 3 is inspired by two gestures that bracket the very short career of Marcel Broodthaers: The first is Expo 58 (1957), a text written by Broodthaers recounting — with considerable humor — his experience as a hired construction worker for the Brussels Worlds Fair in 1957. The second inspiration is his next to last publication, The Conquest of Space: Atlas for use of artists and the military, which aptly alludes to the often culpable and always violent process of gentrification.







Afterword
It is interesting to note that Marcel Broodthaers died in 1976, right at moment when analog video was becoming a specialized contemporary art medium but long before there was a broad market for consumer-based digital home surveillance. Given the nascent developments in Broodthaers' visual aesthetic at the time—exhibitions in Berlin, London, and Paris belied an emerging interest in banal, all-over visual compositions—I think he was just beginning to sense the cognitive shift of the television age, the disciplined, participatory effect of viewing images on dot matrix screens. It would seem that Broodthaers was becoming aware that we don’t watch such screens so much as surveil them, our eyes pulled across their surfaces in the constant search and assembly of content. There is a similar watchfulness— and distraction—in Broodthaers late work. L’oeil Vigilant is dedicated to that visual and cognitive shift.