Ombea, a paradoxical physical interaction


These people so scared by silence’ Chuck Palaniuk writes in Lullaby, ‘these sound-oholics are my neighbors’. To resist the siege of noise, some students from FAMU (Film Academy of Prague) has created OMBEA, an interactive installation, placed in a world populated by quiet-phobic people. The work reacts to visitor’s movement according to a paradoxical equation. Four speakers, four light sources and two cameras are places within a space that is isolated from outdoor light and sound. Outside the interactive space there’s the computer that controls Ombea reactions. These are: spectator physical movement equals darkness and noise, while his calm and immobility equals light and silence. The visitor is not provided with any instruction before entering the installation and he is forced to spend there eight minutes, the span of time necessary to perceive the space and the sensation of each movement. The lesson is similar to what people learn when they grope while they are fear drowning: quiet is necessary in order to float. Everything becomes clearer after all, when you think quietly. And this is the level of consciousness that the authors want visitors to reach through this controlled mediation that manifests the physical presence in a paradoxical style.

Valentina Culatti