Centering his work around the experience of the viewer, the Australian artist and industrial designer Joel Adler creates site-specific sculptures, installations, and interactive objects. These creations offers new ways to viewers to experience their surrounding environment.
One of his new creations titled Viewfinder, features a 440-pound mirror cantilevered by six tons of concrete and steel which imitates the function of a periscope. The angular structure reflects a breathtaking view of the spectacular waves down below while standing tall several feet over the edge of a cliff. This sight was previously impossible for viewers to take in and observe, but now all can enjoy it.
Adler drew his inspiration for the design, from historic naval interfaces and the human-nature interaction. The Viewfinder gives the illusion that the viewer is transformed from the cliff directly to its base hundreds of feet below, reflecting both light and the sound of the churning waves. The concrete and steel sculpture—slightly Brutalist in its design—offers a somewhat surreal interface whereby people might experience that bit of nature firsthand all without ever making direct contact with it.
“Sometimes the most ‘real' things feel unreal. I have heard many comments about Viewfinder referencing a ‘digital'/'projected'/'TV' element inside the sculpture and the ‘amplification' of the sounds below. Sometimes all it takes is a clean mirror and reflected sound to trick the brain. Viewfinder is completely analog—there are no microphones, no electricity, and no screens (except for the ones filming it from the path). Just one big mirror and a lot of steel,” Alder explained.
Viewfinder has been moved to its permanent location in Lighthouse Reserve, Woollahra (a suburb of Sydney, Australia), after it was originally completed for Sculpture by the Sea: Bondi in 2019., and is placed on a higher cliff which offers an even more expansive view of the gorgeous ocean down below.