Architectural Optics includes installations in interior space using light as material, composed or sculpted by simple optics- lenses, mirrors, and the surfaces of rooms. The works are unique to their sites, uniting interior space with the surrounding landscape, and creating contemplative environments where viewers’ perception slowly expands.
Ethan Jackson’s large-scale optical installations transform interior architectural spaces into an immersive collage of live, colorful light-projections. Using only the natural light in the outdoor landscape, multiple lenses, apertures, and mirrors, Jackson employs the physical principles of the camera obscura to carefully respond to a site’s interior and exterior features– both its specific human story of life and use, and its site and exposure to the world around it.
Jackson works with with light as a material, shaped by lenses into images that live in three-dimensional space. The camera obscura, at its simplest a darkened room with a single aperture, is multiplied and adapted to each unique context. The resulting works are site-specific and often ephemeral, using no electronics or power. Jackson’s body of Architectural Optics projects grew from a practice in photography and an interest in the history, philosophy, and fundamental magic of the medium. To that, he adds an interest in immediate perception and the transformation of experience through light. Lenses, mirrors, and other low-technology tools allow him to compose dreamlike visions on interior walls, floors and ceilings, dissolving the limits of the architecture. The works create a contemplative space which viewers perceive gradually: As pupils slowly dilate in the low light, space seems enriched by degrees, to open and welcome us, to invite us to dream and perhaps to see what the room has seen.