Robbie Cooper is the ultimate voyeur. Since 2008, the photographer and video artist has captured his subjects through a one-way mirror embedded with a Red digital camera, capturing their reactions as they watch various forms of media, ranging from children’s cartoons to news footage. The artist is now looking to expand the scope of his groundbreaking ‘Immersion’ project by handing the reins to his subjects and putting out an open call to anyone who would like to participate.
To that end, Cooper has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fuel its growth and development. He is crowdsourcing funding to expand Immersion onto various platforms, including a website that will act as a virtual hub for contributors, a book and possibly even a documentary.
Cooper has teamed up with Jeff Watson (creative director of the media-making game ‘Reality Ends Here’), to develop the website, which will allow people to record themselves via webcam or to submit material from digital cameras and other devices. It will feature a live-updating grid of images gathered, appearing and fading away in real-time.
‘The idea is to take a portrait of our culture through the screen, from babies to the very old. A journey through our lives as media consumers,’ says the artist. Cooper is interested in how the project will evolve on an open online platform, and what impact community-generated content will have on his vision. 'It’s a matter of almost constant debate, how mediated reality affects perceptions in our lives,' he adds.
The artist has already ventured in provocative directions with the project - remember 'Immersion: Porn', shot exclusively for Wallpaper's 2009 Sex Issue, for which he filmed porn aficionados discussing (and reacting) to X-rated films? But now that Cooper is opening it up to the wildly unpredictable sphere of the internet, it's a social experiment that is sure to produce even more extraordinary results.