The Decelerator – Real Slow Motion

The Decelerator

“The decelerator” designed by German artist Lorenz Potthast is a helmet made with reflective metal, aiming to provide total detachment from reality. The helmet does not generate a virtual or augmented reality, but instead changes the temporal perception of what is happening outside: it gives the user a  ”slow motion” view of the world. A camera records the environment, a netbook stores and slows down the captured images, before retransmitting them on a dual display: inside the helmet for the wearer and outside on a monitor for audience members. The user has the option of choosing between three modes, scrolling using a wheel on a remote controller (similar to those on a mouse): Auto Mode, where the computer decides the variables of the slowdown; Press Mode, which allows only one specific and fixed speed variation; and Scroll Mode, in which the speed can be changed in real time. The mirror surface that covers the helmet is symbolic of its function: it not only serves to hide what is underneath, but it is a genuine representation of the functioning of the device. Watching through a mirror, reality appears sharper than we see with the naked eye, while if reflected on the convex surface of the helmet it becomes distorted and folded. Similarly, compromising the security of the convention of officially recognized time completely revolutionizes our position in reality. Infinitely customizable, the technique of the decelerator could potentially disrupt our sense of time, and turn perception into an abstract, artificial and frighteningly arbitrary state of mind.

Chiara Ciociola