The Great Eye
The Great Eye was an outdoor installation built in 2012 for the Cley 12 Aisle and Air visual arts festival. A simple tower housing a camera obscura was designed to reference and commemorate coastal buildings that have lost to the sea along the north Norfolk coast.
Visually the tower appears to comprise of two separate elements: a mirror-clad base with a reed-clad tower above. Provided by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, the reeds were chosen to relate to the surrounding vegetation and suggest a primitive appearance from close up. Angled mirrored boards fixed to the base reflect the sky, creating the illusion that the tower above is floating from a distance.
Constructed from a cross laminated hexagonal timber, the structure takes shape as a tower rising to seven and a half metres. Referencing Norfolk’s coastal churches, the delicate structure resonates with the sturdy tower of nearby Cley Church and serves as a reminder that no building is exempt from the forces of nature.
Steps provide access to an elevated seating area and viewing platform inside the structure. A camera obscura inside casts live images of the changing landscape surrounding the installation onto the ceiling. A matt black interior suppresses four of the senses, heightening the impact of the images presented.
Appearing to float above the field it stood upon, The Great Eye appeared as a poignant reminder of the the historic and unpredictable nature of the Norfolk coastal landscape.