Ben Washington, I Will Eat This Sleepy Town (installation detail), 2011

For all the world you expect this image to move. It is a back lit screen with a casing as substantial as a cathode ray tube. We have come to expect computerised tablets to sing and dance, why not this?

But no matter how long you watch, the piece is static. The TVs in the image remain switched off. It suggests multi-channel entertainment, but delivers nothing.

You cannot adjust this homemade set. The photo is highly cropped, the image is blurred, and the colours are dated. The fact it glows is the best that can be said for it.

Yet light is a powerful draw. It is still the basic element of film, television, gaming and the screen in your computer and/or phone. That must be why this work holds so much promise.

And when you think of all the technology which 21st century minds could fit into that cumbersome wooden surround, it seems like a miracle that Ben Washington’s gogglebox simply does nothing.

Stranger still, it does not need to. This product of a single artist can still hold the gaze, just as well as the latest 3D model. And it still hangs in the air, despite the weight of expectation.

This work is part of a I Will Eat This Sleepy Town, a joint installation by Ben Washington and Marcin Dudek at Waterside Project Space, London. See gallery website for opening times and directions.

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