An installation by Imaguination (Rowan Abraham)
Concept and installation:
The concept of ‘Hyperreality’ being "the generation by models of a real without origin or reality" (J. Baudrillard, 1998, pp. 166) is growing ever present in our modern society as the gap between reality and the simulation is slowly blending together to become the hyperreal. The hyperreal is slowly becoming a reality because of advancements in technology making the consciousness of humankind unable to differentiate reality from the simulation of one. If we choose to believe that reality is based on how the consciousness perceives the outside world, then it’s safe to say that technology has and will continue to change the way we interpret reality. Either by the way we think of it, interact with it or down to the base level of the senses and how they perceive ‘reality’ through signals sent to the brain.
To address this concept of ‘hyperreality’, I have decided to create a fiction that is based on the current projection of technologies related to the distortion of reality. This fictional future involves society embracing technology as an ‘enhancement’, implanting and wearing a fictional technology called ‘iWear’. This technology is supposed to simulate the link of technology with the conscious, showing how technology can create a hyperreal future. To show this fiction, I have created a narrative involving a series of humans who have integrated with the ‘iWear’ technology and how it might feel/look to live in some everyday scenarios of these people. To create this narrative I have taken a series of photos comparing what a simulation of each person might see with the integration of technology versus a ‘real’ view of that person.
To create a comparison I have shown a point of view perspective from the wearer and contrasted it with a third person perspective of the wearer from an outside view. The point of view photos were created in Photoshop and show how many parts of society could be integrated with technology and what the consequence of that might be. Some consequences include; the manipulation of what you are seeing to favour an agenda (the shopping photo shows this by favouring a company), the distortion of what it means to be human (the ‘Baby Make-R’ photo shows this by taking away the fundamental trait of reproduction), and the complete separation of the consciousness from reality (shown in the final comparison where a person can commit psychological suicide, killing all previous consciousness). To contrast this, I have then shown a series of comparative photos from someone looking in to this integrated consciousness, giving a ‘real’ view of what it would look like to be integrated.
For the photobook, I decided to lay the comparisons out in two different ways. The first way is comparing the ‘hyperreal’ and ‘real’ side by side to give a more obvious comparison of the split between reality and the consciousness. The second way being to strip away the ‘hyperreal’ from the ‘real’ by placing a ‘hyperreal’ photo on one side of the page and then flipping that page over to reveal the ‘real’ view placed on the same side of the page. I have placed these photos in the way they are to show clear separation between scenarios, so that the viewer can come in to each scene separately. The last set of photos being different as it employs a more metaphorical comparison; when turning the page, the scene switches sides to show that there has been time between when the two photos were taken and that the protagonist has become a new person after resetting his identity.
For the installation I decided to create a video work as well as place the photobook on a plinth with pieces of ‘iWear’ for the viewer to wear while they “experience reality”. The video work is a skewed representation of a quote by Plato, being “They give up the truth in their images and make only the proportions which appear to be beautiful, disregarding the real ones”(Plato, 360BCE). It is a simulation of what the wearer of the ‘iWear’ might see, completely distracting the wearer from reality, or “the truth”, replacing it with a video and then a series of ads ‘popping-up’, representing “the proportions which appear to be beautiful. As for the plinth, It is to show the ‘iWear’ and the photobook in a product display manor to advertise the next step of society.
Baudrillard, J. 1998, Jean Baudrillard, Selected Writings, ed. Poster M. Stanford University Press, Stanford http://web.stanford.edu/class/history34q/readings/Baudrillard/Baudrillard_Simulacra.html
Plato, 360BCE, Sophist, Jowett B. Viewed 7th June 2017, http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/sophist.html