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HOMEOSTASIS

Homeostasis is an interactive projection-mapping sculpture that brings the inside of our bodies to the external world, and prompts us to reconsider the Western narrative that our bodies are mechanical and compartmentalized, versus symbiotic and imperfect. Comprised of nine videos mapped onto six amoeba-like sculptures and three screens, viewers are encouraged to move about the space in order to change the space's light and sound as videos react to their presence. Each video represents a self-regulating system of Human Homeostasis. The interaction acts as a way of zooming in on these systems as they normally function side-by-side, although we never think about it because of course we don't have to. Often another body standing beside us is a banal, implicit and static presence. But when one gets closer, with attention, each system presents itself explicitly, such as someone's breath (respiratory system) or the smell of their sweat (autonomic nervous system). Video content is premeditated, but the way in which it is triggered by interaction and therefore made into a different rhythm of self-regulation each time, is up to the viewer. Body-tracking necessary for this piece was coded in Max/MSP, videos were edited in Adobe software, and the sculptures made by hand.

In furthering the relation between bodies, viewers' bodies are crucial in steering the homeostasis of the space itself, much like the human body's rhythms are changed by external forces like fear, hunger, or disease. A human, psychological response to this information in the immersive space is the mission of the installation. Similar to when an audience is moved to dance in a circle on the street, excited by fireworks, or intrigued by the spatial objects on a playground, we are changed by our environment and enamored by its perceived significance. Showing our human nature in finding pattern and ascribing meaning helps strip away our behavior to more clearly reveal reality void of bias, even when it comes to something so indisputably physical such as our bodies. 

 

Projection-mapping interactive sculpture 
UWM Arts-Tech Night Exhibition
December 2015

The motivation for this piece came about by attempting to understanding my own deep connections with the rhythms and self-regulating systems in nature and the body. The irony came about when contemplating the deeper relationships that self-regulating systems have in the natural world, and whether or not they could be simplified and understood as patterns by which all things operate under, and therefore be applied to our own man-made invention. But in doing so, I found that the thoughts I had about nature were specifically Western. By this I mean that it is a Western ideology that nature is perfect and harmonious, and that is why such vast ecosystems can comprise the biosphere that is the earth and the universe.

 

It can be seen with Newton's Mechanical Philosophy, or the way in which Western medicine treats the body mechanically where one part may need a tune-up, while the other a pharmaceutical to set it straight. However things are not so mechanical as we may think. Our minds and our bodies are inherently connected. Severe pain and/or sensory overload can cause trauma. Trauma can cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD can cause depression, suicidal behavior, psychological torment, general anxiety disorder, and episodic bouts of other mental and physical health issues that affect our daily lives.

 

This predicates the the notion that things of nature, including our bodies, are related through a series of symbiotic relationships that may or may not be of any transcendental importance, and that the amazing part of the equation is really the mystery of consciousness and our need to narrate.