Crystal Ball Selfies 2016


Quartz crystal ball 200mm and video on digital screen presented on dressed pine plinth



Crystal Ball Selfies (2016) is an installation of differently sized solid quartz crystal balls upon four dressed pine, rectangular plinths. The plinths are not solid but empty at their core, like a deep wooden frame that can be looked through. 

When you approach each plinth individually a viewer can see that the crystal balls which sit on top are illuminated from within. When you look through the quartz ball, a small moving video can be seen clearly through the quartz.  The videos are different but within each are my own ‘selfie-style’ performances and gestures to the camera.

To see and watch these videos the viewer needs to be very close to the crystal ball, with eyes or hands almost touching the surface of the glossy crystal. Within the videos, I perform as if unaware of anyone who may be looking, either directly or through a screen. 

As with The Facebook I seek to present myself to the camera as an unconscious ‘object’ of its gaze. I have created a space for myself which is enclosed and has an indeterminate sense of time.

In her essay Being Two, How Many Eyes Have We? Irigaray writes ‘Most of the objects that surround us constrain us to look at them in this way or in that way, especially according to their use.’ (1)

Instead of using the common visual mechanism of a phone/screen to see my moving image I am asking the viewer to see through a ‘mystical lens’ that refers to the past, present and future simultaneously. I enfold my female image in a space that is at once occult, intimate, intuitive and mystic.

The crystal ball is not a flat surface but rounded like the shape of an eye and its reflective nature is one whereby light itself is intensified when shone through it. The Pocket guide to Crystals and Gemstones describes the idea behind looking through a crystal ball as ‘not so much to see physical images, but instead to use the crystal and the light reflecting in it as a tool to connect to the divine energy within yourself and all things.’ (2)

Crystal balls have long been associated with the magic of witchcraft and gypsy fortune-telling; domains most often associated with women. Scrying or crystallomancy is a method of searching for a vision by gazing into a crystal ball, mirror, or other shiny object to see visions. (3) In this project it became a final lens through which to see the self and envision a more complex gaze.

Within this project Crystal Ball Selfies 2016 operates as yet another motif of the eye as gateway to a deeper, interior realm. It is this movement through the self as portal, lens, screen, mirror, conduit or channel that new visions of our contemporary selves can come – re-imagined, re-envisioned and revolutionized. 

This work attempts to generate a vision of self, illuminated from within its evocative centre or core.



(1) Dialogues, 3.p. 145

(2) Sirona Knight, Pocket Guide to Crystals and Gemstones (Crossing Press, 1998).

(3) Crystallomancy; divination by crystal ball gazing"Definition of 'Crystallomancy'," Accessed 3/4/2016