Keith Piper - Reckless Eyeballing

Keith Piper's installation criticises stereotypes applied to black males, as informed by UK School Report, a painting by Tam Joseph where three black men are tagged with the statements: 'good at sports', 'likes music', 'needs surveillance'. Projected clips on the screen are triggered by the combination of spectators on the lecterns; the phrases in each clip relate to the theme of the specific lectern. The title of the work refers to a historical criminal offence of the American Deep South - black males returning the gaze of a white person. Reckless Eyeballing delves into the three stereotypes, their wider social and cultural implications and explores the political power of the gaze.

The re-staging of Reckless Eyeballing for Re: [Video Positive] differs from the original version in the storage and playback of the animated video content: Laserdisc technology was used originally; in its present form, the animations are being played from a DVD. The computer running the clips has been upgraded, and the interaction re-programmed. Reckless Eyeballing was the product of a residency at the Banff Center for the Arts, where Keith Piper developed the piece in collaboration with a team of programmers, technologists and video technicians.

Since the early 80s Keith Piper has been interested in exploring the expressive potential of contemporary creative tools such as video, sound or interactivity with regard to issues of historical collective memory, identity, race and representation. Growing up in Birmingham in the 70s, he became an active member of the BLK Art Group, participating in events such as the First National Black Art Convention of 1982, and was involved with the UK 'Black Art Movement' of the 80s. It was during this time that Keith Piper began exploring the possibilities of analogue media. Access to computers such as the low cost Amiga, was significant for the development of the multi-layered aesthetic and interactive nature of his work during the 90s.

The work of Keith Piper features in Richard J Powell's Black Art: A Cultural History and is presented in Relocating the Remains, an archive project devised by the artist and done in collaboration with InIVA (Institute of International Visual Arts).

Interactive installation; Video Positive 95 commission (Moviola & the Banff Centre), The Bluecoat Gallery

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