Ever wonder what happens to the lenses of lost, broken, or discarded eyeglasses? Well apparently Calgary-based artists Caitlind r.c. Brown & Wayne Garrett hoard them for a purpose much greater than better eyesight. The creative duo recently strung together 14,000 unwanted lenses on the historic facade of Pera Museum in Istanbul in order to create the massive installation, “Sea/See/Saw.”
The kinetic sculpture is designed to resemble the shimmering surface of the Golden Horn, the main water way into Istanbul. (History Lesson: This body of water provides the historic city center of Istanbul with natural shelter by forming a harbor that has protected the city from Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, and other maritime trade ships for centuries.) It is designed in a way that the lenses become animated by nature, shifting when they are touched by the wind and flickering in the sunlight. The result is a twinkling energetic orb that can be seen from great distances.
By repurposing objects that are commonly used to aid our vision, the installation invites viewers to literally consider their own changes in perception, and figuratively explore the way in which museums alter our perception of history, art, and culture.
In order to collect the lenses, the artists asked for member of their community to donate their unwanted eyewear, and also received a large amount of lenses from the Canadian Lions Eyeglass Recycling Centre, an organization that aids millions of vision-impaired people around the world.
Brown and Garret have created many incredible site-specific installations throughout the world, so click here to see the rest of their portfolio, or keep up with their latest projects by following them on social media.
All images courtesy of the artists’ website, © Caitlin r.c. Brown & Wayne Garrett