Sentient Space: art performance as a responsive system

The ‘Sentient Space’ is a breathing, living space. The installation shows how space is alive and how sentience creates a bridge between things and human beings.

Project Designer, Taehee Kim, says that both spatial and human energy are multi-way communications and very intimately linked. But we often forget that space affects us in as many ways as we affect space. The sentience of other lifeforms is always there. It is just that we can’t see it.

In this show, the invisible things become more visible and we humans see how they mingle with the human body.

The artist found some energy spots in the gallery by using the L-Rods dowser. Dowsing is a technique for searching for underground water or any other invisible objects by using rods or a pendulum, supposedly in response to unseen influences.

All the wires pass through the dowsing spots that the artist found. One of the wires that pass straight through the centre of the space is a touch-sensitive wire. It represents a lifeline of the space. Like a heart is to the human body, the wire is the core part of the space. Lifeline is a metaphorical term for life in Korea. It encompasses a wider and more comprehensive meaning than the word ‘timeline’, which has a more chronological meaning.

Taehee used the Touch Board and stainless steel wires to add conductivity. The wires were connected to the board.  MaxMSP software was used for generating sound and visualization video.

For the ‘Sentient Space’ project, she made a prototype with conductive thread. But the gallery space was large, so the wires had to be 20-30 feet long. To overcome this, she tested different materials, lengths and thickness of the wire.

It was hard to get stable data from long wires as they get very sensitive. The longer and thicker the wires, the more unstable the data. She had to calibrate the board with the distance, so it remains stable during the exhibition.

Sentient Space uses technology not to give birth to things that are not alive, but rather to reveal their sentience.

Images & Video: Taehee Kim

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