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E X P E R I E N C E N O T H I N G a dissertation on disconnection

By R. Sumner

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Assessment criteria - An ability to reverse the exposure of the negative. - Aesthetic intention of the banal. [as common as its beige outfit.] - The relative condition is highlighted. - A construction [physical or abstract] spans transitional space.

Conclusion Permission is granted to tune out, tune in, turn on then turn off. Just be attentive of the transitional space between the company of absence and its ensuing nonattendance. The condition is the atmospheric [domestic] quality of a vacuum [black hole] disguised as its arch-nemesis, [a] light.

Next on the agenda: How does one summon the extra effort sought to be continuously switched on?

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Authors note The condition of permission is the key to the chamber of cerebral pauses. Conditions are relative, be it a temperament, or a state of w[h]¹e[a]²ther; a cyclical undercurrent churns eternally, the apex of which houses the gap. Gaps are the presence of absence, an ungraspable bridge spanning between conscious entities.

¹ whether- conditional ² weather- atmosphere

To Leonard Cohen

“There is a crack, a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”¹

¹ Leonard Cohen, Anthem, The Future, 1982.

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BY RUTH SUMNER Student of Victoria University of Wellington. Dept. of Industrial Design. Paper in Design Theory (389) Holly Beals’ Group.

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Part 1, Expressions Research topic: What I smell over the next 12 hours. The topic starts out on a subjectivist slant, using the first person singular pronoun ‘I’. It’s not what you smell, or what she smells, but the personal self, the author of these very words, who smelt some smells in a 12 hour time period, charted these out [fig. 1] and took a conclusion from the chart further, much further indeed, until it was the opposite of the intended topic.

fig. 1.-What I smell over the next 12 hours chart.

What I [don’t] smell over the next 12 hours. The polar topics naissance was the discovery of gaps or white spaces, [fig.2] where smells were taking place outside of ones awareness, due to other senses overriding the olfactory, or a lapse in the authors consciousness to take note. Scientifically speaking, the ‘gaps’ in smelling are termed ‘olfactory fatigue’ (when overwhelming circumstances cause the senses to shut down temporarily.) Doctor’s Tip: “By choosing the key odorants, you can function more effectively without being swamped.”¹

¹ Dr Charles Claudianos,

fig. 2.-What I [don’t] smell over the next 12 hours chart.

Part 2, Explorations The thrice-ensuing obstructions were appointed, positioned, and hurdled over with creative fervour and intent. Obstruction 1: Food The process of eating was recorded devoid (sans) of ingestion. [fig.3] The gap is viewed as the distance between plate and mouth. With this bridge removed, all that is seen is food disappearing into ether.

fig. 3.-Screen shots from ‘Eating Devoid’.

Obstruction 2: Words A Blink [fig.4] is a ‘gap’ in the act of seeing, (akin to a cameras’ reverse-blink to catch an image.) When translated into vocabulary form, it anthropomorphizes the 9th letter of the alphabet. [giving eyes to an ‘i’]

fig. 4.-Screen shot from ‘i-blink’.

Words (as substance) can be used to discern a gap, this was explored through laboriously typing out ‘space’ when the space bar was entered in a text. [fig.5]

fig. 5.-Screen shots of ‘space bar’ exploration.

The concentration of connection between reading a sentence, and interpreting the gaps as terminology, opened up new windows in the mind. To close this newly gauged fissure, a bridge was required, of whom the structure resembled a quilt. In place of cloth, were pages of a book. [fig.6] An almost seamless viewing was facilitated¹ wherein new understanding of context can be garnered


fig. 6.-Book quilt.

Obstruction 3: television The [mind-numbing] act of watching television [fig.7] is a perfect example of the cerebral pauses, of which the topic of ‘gaps’ took its first footsteps. TV gives a reason for permission (if reason is sought) to do nothing, to breathe dead air, to listen to whitenoise, [fig.8] to stare at a blank wall. Some would call this meditation, others procrastination, resultant dependent on the judges footing.

fig. 7.-Sketch exploring ‘lost in the void of TV’

fig. 8.-Screen shot from ‘static mute’

Part 3, Experiments All aforementioned knowledge was lain out and scrutinised [Directed by grounded theory, Produced and written by yours truly, the author.] The critique heralded widespread themes; when boiled to a concentrate, gave rise to four divergent quadrants. [fig.9]

fig. 9.-Grounded Theory Quadrants

fig. 10.- ‘the eye of the storm’

1st Quarter: hole+whole A condition employed was the weather; The protagonist [in this scenario] is the eye-of-thestorm, playing the role of ‘gap’. [fig. 10]

fig. 11.-Final Reseach Question

fig. 12.- Family tree graph.

2nd Quarter: whole+bridge Bridges are resurrected along the banks of a dried-up bloodline. The whole is the family unit, and the links are the connecting inter-relationships. [fig.12]

fig. 13.-new pegs

3rd Quarter: bridge+part When the bridge is kept as the constant, and the boundaries are the fluctuating force, scale performs a dominant actor. [fig.13] Gaps can only bear their existence with the propping on either side with some form of an edge. Likened to that of water in a glass can only exist due to the glass of which contains it.

fig. 14.- negative skips

4th Quarter: part+hole When a part of an image is removed and the negative is filled with physical surroundings, Its the presence of absence which forms the space and imagination can play a key role in deciphering the whole. [fig.14]

Part 4, Experience A collaboration impact of all expressions/ explorations/experiments, transpired into the final installation. The phenomenon[s] (issue[s]) conjured by the research question [fig.11] and (hopefully) resolved by the installation [fig.15] are: 1. How does one discover the art of allowing? 2. How does one find the condition that which allows the art of allowing? 3. How does one know when the gap is in ones existence (vicinity)? The resultant intends to attune your awareness via alternate means than visual and audile. Though the installation is a cohesive twin fusion of the latter’s, creating the sound of nothing, of a vacuum where light is anticipated.

fig. 15.- the installation proposal

experience nothing  

a dissertation on disconnection

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