During the Dutch Design Week 2014, I have been one of the writers of the NextNatureLab:blog as part of the digital extension of the Next Nature Lab Community.

The Optical Illusion of Disembodiment.
This article was originally posted at nextnaturelab.wordpress.com.

Disembodiment: you are there, but you are not. Your spirit and senses are there to process stimuli, seemingly without the use of your limbs.

For months already, the world is blown away by the Oculus Rift (Workshop coming up at MU Strijp on Saturday 25-10-2014 – see image below). This amazing piece of technology made us able to experience physical movement without the use of our limbs. Experimental researches, for example by BeAnotherLab, show possibilities for gender swops and other ‘out of body’-experiences. Our body seems to lose its value, but can we process what is happening around us as long as we have our senses?

A great example of a physical disembodied experience can be found in the ‘Designhuis’. Left from the minty green string piano, a room with four large coloured surfaces appear. The surfaces, fading from one colour to the other, function as a vanishing mirror. Looking at a red surface you can find yourself in a reflection, fading out as the colour changes. You loose your reflection, and an endless depth appears in your sight. Your eyes are trigged and your body gets lost. You are nowhere and at the same time everywhere. You lose the experience of your body, or do you experience your body to be everywhere?

We started to ask ourselves, is ‘disembodiment’ the new trend, although we seem to get back to the physical slow life of craftsmanship we used to have decennia ago?

Text by Anne Spaa.
Images by Tom Kölker.