Hide and Seek

By Céline Coutrix, 2010

Hide and Seek is an interactive work of art for iPhone or iPod touch that leads you to a internal conflictual situation where you have to hide what you are dying to see. Firstly, the screen looks like a uniform flesh-colored surface, conveying an idea of skin, caress and touch. While touching the screen, the person notices the reaction of the device: his fingertip reveals a ghost image, hardly visible with its low contrast. By touching the screen with a second finger, she/he soon notices that not only the image is revealed under both fingertips, but also it has also more contrast and is better visible. Driven by curiosity, she/he will then put all five fingers in contact with the surface. Under her/his fingertips – and only there – clearly appears the image and its erotic nature: skin, folds or nipples. Now understanding what is hidden under his fingers, the person will not necessarily stop touching, even though she/he might feel trapped. On the contrary, she/he adopts a voyeur attitude. The work illustrates the quote “Hide this breast that I cannot see” (Cachez ce sein que je ne saurais voir) from Tartuffe by Molière, where the character is a dishonest puritan dying to say “Unveil this body that I want to see”. The experience might seem frustrating, since it is not possible to perfectly see the image. In order to see it better, one has to hide it oneself. It is actually not the system that is hidding the image – on the contrary, it reveals it – but rather the person’s fingers. One ends up in a contradictory situation where one has to hide the image in order to see it.