Friday, July 30, 2010

So, one or two posts ago I said I was going to start "clearing out the mental inventory" of projects that I've thought about doing recently. The obvious place to start is with my art grant proposal for this year's Burning Man. My proposal, which was rejected for funding, was called "Eat the World."

This project arose out of the idea that the main ways that we humans interact physically with the world around us is through our hands and our mouths. The "Hand of Man" pretty much covered the "hand" end of things, and "Eat the World" was conceived to explore and extrapolate the ways in which we use our mouths to "consume" the world.

In much the same way as the Hand of Man makes use of an ergonomic "controller" (glove) to mimic the user's hand motions and then duplicate those motions in the large mechanical hand, this piece would invite the user to step into a "harness" which would capture the user's arm, head, and jaw motions, and translate those into the movements of the larger sculpture. Through the use of simplistic arms and hands on the large sculpture, the user could "feed" objects to himself and devour them.

One interesting aspect of this piece, with regard to the experience of the user, is that the user is actually situated INSIDE the head of the piece. This means that whatever movements the user might make with his or her head would be translated into movements of the large sculpture's "head", thereby taking the user for a "ride" of sorts. Basically, the user would be going for a ride that her or she was controlling in real time with the motions of his or her own head. I think that would be really fun, and weird.

This basic concept of capturing the movements of a single operator and translating those movements to a larger machine is really quite fascinating to me. It plays a central role in several of my other sculptural ideas, as will be seen. I think that the idea of putting the individual in the central controlling role of their own experience, and using machinery to make that experience more exciting, or intense, or dangerous than anything they might normally experience, is a really compelling one. It's really compelling to me, anyway.

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