Soft Staycation (Gaze Track Edit)
To make the video installation Soft Staycation (Gaze Track Edit), the artist, playing the role of ‘job creator’, hired a group of unemployed and expat freelancers through Craigslist to watch a 30 minute compilation of national tourism ads. These ads, which are generally sponsored by various publicly funded tourism boards and screened in airports for example, were found on the Internet by Keller. He used a gaze-tracking camera to measure the eye movements of the people participating in the experiment. Despite the relentlessness of the source, the subjects define zones of attention that the camera records.
Instead of using the gathered gaze data for any specific research purpose, the consumptive gaze is transmuted onto the video itself, creating an ensemble of light spots and shadows. The film is screened on a large LED screen, the same kind used for advertisement purposes. By staging a typical marketing study, the artist points out the persisting automatisms of consumer-spectators, while the flexible LED curtain makes it quite a sculptural and hypnotic piece.
Daniel Keller belongs to a generation of artists born at the end of the 1980s, nourished by digital imagery, who have participated in the social networks as a communication strategy, combining the public and the private spheres; a logical heir to the "entrepreneur" artist of 1990-2000.
Interested in the existence of the artwork on the Internet, as another - or even an extension - exhibition space, Daniel Keller believes in the participation of the public as a critical authority, who can comment, post, re-post the artwork, etc. He reappropriates participatory strategies (for example using charity bands) that find a new echo with the Internet crowdfunding. In his works and his collaborative projects (AIDS-3D), Keller merges art and technology (including the use of new materials) with special attention to social and ecological issues.