Single channel video, stereo audio, wood, acrylic, polypropylene, video loop 1:30 min, audio loop 12:10 min, 2009
The oculus is an architectural opening, often located high in the domed ceiling of a sacred space. When viewed from the floor below, this small circular or oval window admits light that represents the divine gaze of permanent observation from above.
In Now and Forever you gaze down through an oculus from the overhead position of a solitary observer, high up in a heavenly dome. You hear choral singing, in which ordinary voices resonate in the vast chamber below, taking on 'sacred effects'. You also hear types of 'voice-play' where voices delight in making noise rather than making speech, as well as occasional sounds of struggle and pain. You witness aspects of the profane as well as the sacred. There is a strict geometry to the space and this creates formal social arrangements within the space.
The idea of permanent observation by an all-seeing deity persists in many religious cultures. Leber and Chesworth are interested in the architecture of permanent observation as a means of social control, particularly as a reforming influence, to make us want to 'improve' ourselves.
Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne (2011); Detached, Hobart, in association with MONA FOMA (2012); Actions of Light, Mildura Arts Centre, Australia (2017). Mildura Arts Centre collection.