"…the isolated organ of the eye is incapable of showing emotion, which resides in the face which surrounds it. Real eyes are not so easy to read and people focus a lot of attention on them, trying to find something inside them. They are organs which constantly seek and watch and are in turn being watched." –Tony Oursler.

Tony Oursler’s dreamlike work grapples with the belief that the eye is a window to one’s soul. The artist used a video camera to capture a woman’s eye movements and then projected the moving image onto a painted fiberglass ball. Alien Eye darts around in response to the woman’s thoughts, emotions, and surroundings. Yet, as the pupil expands and contracts, the eye only partially reflects what the woman is seeing. At once revealing and concealing her inner thoughts, the cyclopic sculpture also conjures the idea of surveillance in our digital age.


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  • Title: Alien Eye
  • Creator: Tony Oursler
  • Date Created: 1996
  • Location Created: United States
  • Provenance: Tony Oursler studio, New York, 1996; Metro Pictures, New York, 2002; Gift of the Chrysler Contemporaries to the Chrysler Museum of Art, May 2, 2002.
  • Physical Dimensions: 9 in. (22.9 cm)
  • Credit Line: Gift of the Chrysler Contemporaries, May 2, 2002
  • Type: Sculpture + Installation
  • Rights: © Tony Oursler, courtesy of Metro Pictures Gallery, New York
  • Medium: Fiberglass, acrylic, and video projector