Outside Inside Upside Down, A Camera Obscura

Location:           Cley-next-the-Sea, North Norfolk
Programme:     Installation
Cost:                   £10,000
Status:               Completed
Client:                North Norfolk Exhibition Projects

Outside Inside Upside Down was a camera obscura designed and built as part of the NNEP Cley 2012 Contemporary Arts Festival.

Project Overview

The scheme uses the initial idea of the hide and attempts to propose a different kind of hide, one where the bird watcher is completely hidden and immersed within an alternative external environment. An environment where, through disconnection of the senses, those of sight, observation and hearing can be heightened.

The project proposes that the bird observer enters a central dark space through a steadily darkening corridor. Within the central space he / she can watch live film of the immediate surroundings in every direction on screen walls. The observer can watch and listen to the sounds of the birds and the sea, yet he / she will disturb no bird or animal and will remain sheltered from what can sometimes be harsh costal weather conditions.

The technology is simple, ancient and poetic, the surroundings are projected onto the screen walls in the central space through a series of lenses set into the exterior plywood wall, forming a camera obscura. The roof is constructed of black out canvas allowing the calls of those birds flying over and the sounds of the sea to enter the space yet keeping it dark, allowing the projections to be seen.

Project Team

Fabrication:                         Kelvin Thatcher,  
                                                Elena Thatcher
Fabrication Support:         Mary Thatcher,
                                                Sam Williamson,
                                                Emma Brown
Structural Engineering:   Matthew Wells, Techniker
Optical Supplier:                Eyeman Opticians