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Brief


Design a technological something (e.g., wearable, device, tool, space,software, infrastructure) that gives YOU, or one of your peers, a special ability or superpower. The final deliverable is a prototype or prop, brought to life through demo, performance, enactment, and/or visual narrative.


Project Statement


Digital Altar is designed as a place to find creative power. What motivated me to make it is to discover a new understanding of practice and ritual through the process of making. As a creative, I sometimes myself confronted with creative blocks. A lot of times this is due to stress and anxiety that tend to inhibit my creative ability. Therefore I wanted to create a power that uses the blocks to gain access to something new and lean into it. The way that I have interpreted super power is rooted in spiritual and ritual practices. Having a consistent practice like meditation or art, I can gain a deeper relationship with the self and gain access to new abilities that strengthen the practice.

I embarked on a ritualistic path of making, to put this idea into practice. I made 3D digital altars, made from GIFs; ingredients from the internet, and then I made a 11.5x11.5 acrylic cube, with a laser cut pixelated texture, as a relic to offer the altar. By offering a 3D GIF to the altar the system becomes circular, and therefore regenerative. Creating a regenerative cycle between the physical and the digital is a new practice I am proposing through this project. I am inspired by a quote by Alfred Gell from his essay, “The Technology of Enchantment and the Enchantment of Technology,” where he makes the comparison between art and religion, “Just as anthropology of religion commences with the explicit or implicit denial of the claims religions make on believers, so the anthropology of art has to begin with a denial of the claims which objects of art make on the people who live under their spell, and also on ourselves, in so far as we are all self-confessed devotees of the Art Cult.” (Gell 42). Which makes me wonder about the properties of art that ensnare an audience to it. Gell goes on to argue that the Technology of Enchantment is based on the technical process which casts a spell in order to see the real world in an enchanted form. As such I was interested in investigating the technical process that art uses in order to cast a spell, such as gestalt properties which pull in observers by exploiting characteristic biases of human visual perception which work to find patterns. I wanted to work with GIFs because they have a circular pattern, and hypnotic gestalt properties. I invite others to join in on the ritual by following the instructions in the video and create a dialectic with the work.
 

Research


This project builds on the previous GradLab module, where I was asked to think expansively about the topics of "super power" and "super hero", and contemplate (and complicate) connections between the fantastical, fictional, the epic and the everyday. What kinds of superpowers have been envisaged? What are the motivations of those who make use of special powers? What are the worlds they exist within? Where do these powers come from? What motivates this power? How is their power achieved? What's the implied worldview? What's the division between being incredibly skilled and having a superpower? What is YOUR secret power? What special power do YOU dream of, and why?



Process




Installation






Documentation




Installation projection video and sculpture.