NoemaScope: An Immersive Installation
by Ritwik Kaikini
Noema is a concept introduced in phenomenology by Husserl, a french philosopher, as something to do with the ‘thought’ and what these thoughts are all about. It is in a way, the start to our thinking and our whole imagination. If we think about the world, the world is like a series of thoughts collectively constructed into a single collective conscious mind. All animals big or small, humans, fire, water, earth, the smallest creatures like bacteria, the smallest grains of sand, the vast roads circling the earth, they all form a collective consciousness which influences the world in its own way. There is energy being transferred between each of these elements in their own simple ways. I wanted to develop an immersive installation, guided by my own soundtrack, which gives us the experience of being small and insignificantly futile compared to our collective consciousness. I wanted to cultivate a sense of guided spirituality through the sounds, visuals and video narratives.
Architecture and Spatial Perspective:
The first thing I did was map out the whole space and look at what physical objects I can use as props inside the installation. This was the most interesting challenge as each space had its own nature and objects to play with. Below are the photos for each space with elements we could play with: the exhaust shaft, the gauzed box below the exhaust shaft, the ceiling vent and alarm, the side of the big projector, the pile of cardboards below the lion and the electrical outlet box on the side wall.
I thought about how collective minds work and the first thing that came to my mind was ants. Ants collectively help each other and function as components of a single mind. Each ant can be looked at as a thought. A collection of these ants results in the formation of an imagination funneling into something. I decided to funnel these ants to move into one of the big overhead exhaust pipes. I had made a short movie last year called ‘Samudra‘ which was shot in my pilgrimage beachside town of Gokarna, India. The movie’s essence was to belong to the earth, with elements of animals, plants, trees, the sea and fishermen. I decided to project this onto the entrance doors as it formed a good flat canvas. Then I decided to use the lion calibration to animate the lion on the side wall to feel like its facing waves from the neighboring walls. I projected a movie of being on the road on the left door next to the lion as it gave a sense of rebellion to the door which said ‘do not enter’ but it felt like we did enter it through the road. I covered the overhead walls with clouds and a waterfall effect.
I was working on a composition signifying the meeting of the elements of fire, earth and energy. I used the big projector to project my composition on to the walls. I used the constant elements of particles to signify energy flow across each canvas. The particles were like a portal to the next canvas in each projection space. The hand in the round canvas catches fire momentarily and the blanket on the left is like a safeguarding of the energy that is being transferred. (the particles are sheltered underneath this blue blanket) I layered the overhead pipes with a line pattern showing a DNA strand- like pattern which moves.
My MA thesis, Micro Lux Chants is a project based on the life cycle of Bioluminescent Bacteria Aliivibrio Fischeri.
Bioluminescent bacteria produce organic, natural light on their own when they breathe.
Me and my collaborator, Brian Merlo decided to streak petri dishes with these bacteria in the shape of ‘UTD’ and we recorded a time lapse over 5 days to make the bacteria speak back to us with light. What you see below is bacteria lighting up and dimming away during their life cycle.
My close friends Adnan Naseem Khan (Astral Hawk Interactive) and Vincent Martin were happy to collaborate with me as I wanted the element of feeling small and insignificant inside a vast desert in this installation. They shared their drone footage of White Sands, New Mexico with me and I decided to project this onto the middle wall containing the huge exhaust pipe and gauze box. I added a 3d object inside the gauze box and it gave a really cool effect (which you will see in the video). I added the cubes and particles as energy transfer over this vast white desert. I layered the over head pipe with spiral lines making it like a helix.
This was the composition I spent most of my time on. It has the main elements of thought, the eye, energy, the genie and the galaxy patterns. I had made an art project for Mihai Nadin’s Aesthetics Class called ‘Galaxy in a Jar‘ which was a pickle jar artwork meant to generate visuals like outer-space and galaxies. I layered the whole canvas with these outer-space elements to give a sense that not only the earth, the whole Universe is a collective mind breeding continuous thought. When two beings interact with each other, energy is transferred between themselves and thats how we can sustain the world. By being there for each other. Hence I made the old white genie on the left and the face on the right as a form of evolution of man.