The Eyes of the Gods
Jane Chang Mi / USA
Honolulu Biennial, Pepperdine University, and UCSB
Ancient Hawaiians named the estuary that feeds Pearl Harbor, Wai Momi, or the river of pearls. Oysters (Pinctada radiate) once flourished in the harbor. The shells were used as scrapers to make cloth and rope; they were also carved into fishhooks. The mother of pearl was valued for its iridescence, often used to make the eyes of the gods.
The Eyes of the Gods was a single channel video installation compiled from the underwater archive of the National Park Service World War II Valor. Divers from the team, video taped themselves surveying the USS Arizona, as well as, interning the ashes of survivors who have passed. I took part in this internment this December 7, 2016. Using both analog and algorithmic techniques I have found and compiled all of the images containing only the water and nothing else.
This alogorithmic technique used to make The Eyes of the Gods is similar to face recognition and surveillance software utilized by the National Security Agency (NSA). I wanted to reflect this irony, as today the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickman is the headquarters of the United States Pacific Fleet, including being home to the Joint Intelligence Center, Pacific (JICPAC).