Create or re-create an interactive piece that is not using technology as a primary means of expression.
We propose the creation of a physical installation piece that provokes the crossing of two gazes of strangers in mid-air in an immersive and at the same time infinite space.
"m e e t _"
I am collaborating with my classmate Nicolás Escarpentier on this piece. We found a common ground in combing two main different themes that are very present in our works so far: Nico is using VR to engage people with uncomfortable topics, I am exploring the notion of futility with machine learning technologies.
As we took away the technological means of these concepts and tried to translate them into non-technological art forms we came up with the following keywords:
Physical space, human-human interaction, focus, introspection and infinity.
Based on these keywords we started our exploration with the corner as a defining element of a physical space. It can limit a move or gaze into a direction (90 degrees) or open it to infinity (270 degrees). In both cases it can be a meeting point if two humans walk into that direction. But what happens if the physical encounter of two bodies is replaced by a virtual encounter (or better "crossing") in mid-air between two gazes based on the geometry of a corner? What if you don't see somebodies eyes, but you you know you are looking at the same point in distance? Does the awareness of this crossing of two gazes somewhere in the distance change our perception of infinite space?
We want to play with the notion of non-physical, invisible and at the end "virtual" encounters in a real space. Ideally the mere thought of crossing of gazes of two strangers inspires the imagination of the audience, the invisible meeting point becomes "real" and helps them to define and feel infinity as a communal experience that ultimately leads to introspection. We would like to ask the audience an open question: Is alone together better than alone?
We identified the following crucial aspects for this experience:
- The audience is aware of each others presence in a subtle way
- Two gazes have to cross each other at a certain point in distance
- The gazes should continue into infinity afterwards (the eye of the viewer should not be able to focus on a specific point in distance)
- The audience should feel immersed
For the setup of our piece we were inspired by Markus Schinwald’s Austrian Pavilion at the 2011 Biennale di Venezia and John Dewey's concept of "art as an experience".
By using floating wall panels, we are able to communicate the audience the presence of someone else. The jagged path of the hallway on both sides of the room gets narrower at the end and blocks physical access to the corner of the room - which is not a corner anymore but a rounded miniature arena. This rounded element is accessible from both sides via gazes only, the audience can see inside and cross the gazes of the people while looking at the rounded wall of the element into infinity. Both viewers can feel the presence of each other, talk to each other - but they never meet the eyes of the other person or see the face of the other person. The only meeting space is the arena, the gazes cross at a certain point and "meet" virtually in their staring at infinity.