Michael Petry

You See What I Mean

9 December - 1 December 1996

You See What I Mean by Michael Petry was the third event commissioned by BN1 for public sites in central Brighton. Other events included Fastbuild by Leon Palmer and Anna Heinrich and a design and architectural collaboration with artist Markus Blee at the Zap Club.


This work was comprised of clothes, blue powder pigment, video and soundtrack. It was conceived and lit so as to alter as the natural daylight slowly faded. As the days grew shorter, the lengths of day and night light altered. The clothes were powdered with a thin layer of ultramarine blue pigment which was accentuated by the blue light. The video could be seen through a small porthole on the wall and depicted Brighton at high summer, the pebble beach, and sunlit water. No human presence could be seen as wave upon wave washed up. The soundtrack washed over the viewer as the alternating tones of a church bell played on with additional sounds of the city emanating from the pulpit.


Petry created computer simulations of what the work would look like prior to its realization. The working drawings give and an indication of what the piece would look like in situ, yet were intended as video works in themselves.


The video could only be seen through a wall on the North side of the room. At night the lapping of the waves caused the image to appear to flicker as if it were candle-light.

This event was organised by BN1 Visual Arts Project with funding and support from South East Arts and Brighton Borough Council. BN1 focussed on contemporary and innovative installation and site-specific art, creating new opportunities for radical new departures.​