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Long May She Gaze

The eyeball. Photo: Greg Doherty/Getty Images

It is always unsettling to see eyeballs leave their rightful place inside human skulls and appear, unannounced, in places they don’t belong. For that reason, an act of unholy disembodiment currently taking place in Las Vegas should fill me with dread, and yet I am utterly delighted: A freakish, super-size eyeball has been installed over one of the city’s most expensive golf courses, and now high-rolling chumps are paying hundreds of dollars to putt under its sleepless stare.

The eyeball is actually a video playing on repeat on the exoskeleton of the Sphere at the Venetian Resort, a globe-shaped entertainment venue recently erected near the Las Vegas strip. The designers of this enormous metal orb, nearly five years in the making, claim it’s the world’s largest spherical structure. It also plays host to what is allegedly the largest LED screen on earth — the perfect canvas for, say, an animatronic snow globe, a spooky jack-o’-lantern, or a photo of planet Earth (all things that have actually been projected onto the sphere since its unveiling earlier this month). Still, the shape that seems to best highlight the Sphere’s very specific set of skills — playing moving images on a round surface — is the lifelike close-up video of a human eye currently on display. It blinks, quivers, and twitches with uncanny realism, quietly tallying the sins of the city.

Who and what exactly does this graphic exemplar of body horror gaze down upon? Mostly patrons of the Wynn Golf Club, a sprawling, architect-designed luxury course that’s open to whichever members of the public can afford its $600 admission fee, and sits directly within the Sphere’s line of vision. Imagine barreling through luscious, well-manicured lawns in a silly little golf cart, nine-irons tucked safely in the back, and looking up to see 366 feet of glistening sclera and unfiltered ocular skin. How are Vegas’s top golfers expected to improve their swings with God’s eye blinking down at them at all times?

The golfing conditions will likely deteriorate even further come September, when the Sphere will welcome her first round of visitors for an inaugural U2 concert (though personally, I feel Blink-182 would be more appropriate). We don’t know for sure that the venue will still be styled as an eyeball for that show, but it makes for a beautiful image: The eyeball’s veiny lids blinking to the beat as “Beautiful Day” emanates from deep inside its optic nerve. Long may she gaze.

Long May She Gaze