Contact: A Cybernetic Sculpture
In 1968 Les Levine presented his first public showing of his work. He had been working with video tape for a long time and in this showing the audience watched his videos of the destruction of art and the nude model. The public could also watch their own reactions as Levine had a camera in the room. He was not traditional in the sense of aesthetics so having a camera in the room was typical for him. In the New York Times review he was quoted as saying he hoped to help people from new images of themselves by showing them their reactions to what they see. also in 1968 he produced his first television sculpture, "Iris". again in this he had the viewer watching their own reactions via television. In this case, all the hardware for the closed-circuit system was contained in one eight-foot-tall sculpture-console. When standing in front of the console the viewer was faced with six monitors and three hidden video cameras. In both of these works Levine is fascinated with the implications of self awareness through technology of closet circuit TVs.
Levine says, "I don't tend to think of my work purely in psychological terms," he explains, "but one must assume some psychological effect of seeing oneself on TV all the time. Through my systems the viewer sees himself as an image, the way other people would see him were he on television. In seeing himself this way he becomes more aware of what he looks like. All of television, even broadcast television, is to some degree showing the human race to itself as a working model. It's a reflection of society, and it shows society what society looks like. It renders the social and psychological condition of the environment visible to that environment."