EYEsect, Reality From A Feet Perspective


EYEsect is an oblong and amorphous helmet coated with a mirror. It provides users with a very particular visual experience, one that is both binocular and stereoscopic. Two cameras are positioned at the bottom of two extendable arms, anchored on the helmet. Users can choose to position the two new virtual eyes in a variety of novel positions, for example on a foot or an ear or behind their back. The signals are transmitted to the helmet and integrated, creating ‘impossible’ perceptions of reality. Similar helmets have been used in other virtual reality experiments, for example Maxence Parance’s work Hyper(reality), in which a yellow polygonal helmet allowed users to view their surroundings reproduced in virtual 3D with an interactive sensor glove creating an indefinite generative circuit. Lorenz Potthast’s work The Decelerator instead modifies reality, slowing it down or speeding it up in real time. EYEsect is none of these things. What artists Sebastian Piatza, Christian Zöllner and Julian Adenauer seem to be offering is not an abstract representation of reality nor a time warp. Rather, this work is a possible answer to the question: “How do you NOT see?”. The artistic process started with careful research into the mechanisms of visual perception in some animal species, with the aim of creating an entirely and perfectly “customized” new system for viewing. The internal components are mostly modelled and implemented individually with a 3D printer. The helmet is the result of an ergonomic study of the head of one of the artists, the first user of the system. The design of the helmet and the choice of the mirrored surface (which prevents others from seeing expressions on the face of the user) seem to emphasize a personalist conception of visual perception. The new perspective seems to be that of an anti- WYSIWYG “view”: “What You Get” is NOT “What You See”. Chiara Ciociola