The Eye of Providence on the back of the dollar bill often draws several associations, from its original meaning of the ‘Eye of God,’ to the iconography of Freemasons, to the symbolization of Illuminati conspiracy theories. Through levitation, pinhole cameras, and even prosthetics, the provocative sculpture, Ascension, by Arkansas-based artist, Guy Bell, takes the infamous image to technologically-enabled new heights.
The sculpture directly personifies the phrase, “watching you, watching me,” as Bell physically mimics the pyramid of the all-seeing eye as a three dimensional sculpture and installation. To aestheticize the image, Bell uses the various technologies such as Crealev Levitating Technology to levitate the pyramid which is made up of a custom prosthetic eye with an embedded wireless pinhole camera.
In the “making of” video for this project, Bell states that he first came up with the idea in 2010 when “the image of the Eye of Providence flashed before his eyes.” Originally he put the project on hold because of the lack of available technologies, until one day he saw a Crealev demonstration on Youtube. Before the Ascension project, he mostly worked in painting, and lacking the wood shop and hardware experience, collaborated closely with the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub to bring the project to fruition. To add the prosthetic eye to the piece, he enlisted the help of Michel D. Kackowski, an ocularist and anaplastologist at the Center for Alloplastic Facial Reconstruction, to create a slightly larger-than-life prosthetic eye that would bring home the duality of the literal and representational form of the all-seeing eye.
In the video, Bell states he hopes that this piece will “illicit a sense of wonder in the viewer.” Ascension is Bell’s first publicly-displayed sculpture, and is a part of Bell’s solo exhibition Fourteen Minutes and Fifty-Nine Seconds presented by the Thea Foundation in Arkansas.