The suffering philosopher
- Categories Digital Art
„Ich schaue die grauenvollen Räume des Universums, die mich einschließen und ich finde mich an eine Ecke dieses weiten Weltenraumes gefesselt, ohne daß ich wüßte, weshalb ich nun hier und nicht etwa dort bin, noch weshalb ich die wenige Zeit, die mir zum Leben gegeben ist, jetzt erhielt und an keinem anderen Zeitpunkt der Ewigkeit, die vor mir war oder die nach mir sein wird. Ringsum sehe ich nichts als Unendlichkeiten, die mich wie ein Atom, wie einen Schatten umschließen, der nur einen Augenblick dauert, ohne Wiederkehr. Alles, was ich weiß, ist, daß ich bald sterben werde. Aber, was der Tod selbst ist, das weiß ich am wenigsten.“ – Blaise Pascal
I am strongly fascinated by the universe with its unthinkable size, and no less by our existence as human beings with no understanding about how our minds work or what our bodies are. So I began to read a lot of philosophical texts, one of them being the “Pensées” from Blaise Pascal, which I can strongly recommend. I felt that there is/was somebody, who perceives these things/the world the way I do.
So I thought about how to visually realize his former feelings and my present ones.
I wanted to force the visitor to stand still and look into the incredible wideness of the completely quiet outer space, and perhaps evoke similar feelings in him – but then, when he leaves, he will also leave behind the philosopher alone in his mindly pain. And the philosopher starts to scream his pain away, but still hoping that somebody will come to see what he sees, to feel what he feels.
In the this video you can see a small example of how the installation works with mouse interaction (the texture of the head is collaged out of our both faces) – the whole sketch is java-based.
However, I wanted the vistor to be actively involved in the situation, so after doing some research on how to implement this functionalty. I found a book titled “Making Things See” from Greg Borenstein, which describes how to use the xbox kinect modul seperatly connected to my computer. After a few attempts, I finally did get it to work. At last I was capable of integrating it into my processing-sketch, so the visitor is able to virtually participate in reality.