Lee Walton

Lee Walton is an artist with an expanded practice that includes drawing, performance and social practice. Walton experiential art works employ system of rule, chance and open collaboration. Lee works with museums, institutions, universities and cities from around the world to develops participatory public events, lead workshops, exhibit and educate.


Birthday Videos: For Friends I Don’t Really Know

Birthday Videos: For Friends I Don’t Really Know is an on-going series of intimate videos wishes for people I don’t really know. Personal information is culled from the recipients social media feeds and used to create the feeling that we are close friends. These videos are delivered to recipients on the day of their birthday.
These most recents Birthday Videos were created for the exhibition #awkward at Plug Projects. Special thanks to artist Jordyn Summers for her help.
Since 2002, I have been making these videos as a way to playfully examine the potential of one-to-one web-based experiences as opposed to the broadcasted one-to-many model. These videos also question privacy and how social media is changing the way we define and understand our relationships to one another.


Following “The Man of the Crowd

‘Following “The Man of the Crowd”‘ was a 24-hour walk in which Christina Ray and I, linked by text messaging, drifted separately through NYC in an alternating pattern according to the movements of strangers. Based loosely on Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Man of the Crowd” and inspired by Vito Acconci’s 1969  “Following Piece,” Christina and I developed a collaborative performance that involved following strangers over a 24-hour period.
While one of us were following a stranger, the other was stationary and experiencing their present location. When the stranger could no longer be followed, a text message was sent to activate the other. This person then followed the nearest ambulatory stranger at that moment.  This alternating cycle was enacted for 24-hours.
The video above is the unedited raw footage.  During this experience, I cut my finger opening a can.  See the 5.10 mark in the above video.




Central to these experiences is the public who comes to participate in an unknown spectacle and a pair of customized goggles worn by one participant. The goggles open and close mechanically, revealing a temporary moment, book-ended before and after by pure darkness. A guide remotely opens the shutter of the goggles for the person wearing them. Like an on and off switch, spontaneous moments are framed for all to see. Glimpse heightens our awareness of what can happen in a micro moment.

The Glimpse goggles were designed in collaboration with Derek Toomes.

Sourced from Lee Walton’s website

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