Conscious Dome

(written by manekineko)

Conscious Dome, by Takako Ikemoto, is an interactive installation to be shown at IAMAS graduation exhibition 2006 this week. It’s a magical dome that a visitor can “experience the consciousness of other people.” Ikemoto tries to provide such an experience by carefully designing physical artifacts, audio-visual media space, and activities inside the dome, based on her traumatic experience of the loss of her father. “My motivation for making this work started after my experience of caring of my father who was in vegetative state.” Ikemoto imagines how dreadful it could be if one is conscious as usual under a vegetative state and she tries to believe, as much as she can, in the potential of a human being — the natural power of healing and the ability to lessen psychological pains. She regrets her not telling her thoughts to her father in the vegetative state since “It is said that only the hearing ability remains until just before people pass away.”

[Conscious Dome]

Inside the dome, there is a projector that displays a black and white picture. The picture moves and changes its brightness, like the whole thing is breathing. A visitor receives a card just before entering the dome and then takes a look at the instructions written on the card. After a little while, the phone rings. It’s the visitor’s call whether or not to pick up the handset. Picking it up will trigger a colorful audio-visual experience and a voice of someone coming from the handset.

[illustration by camille dodson]

Digital technologies are allowing us to easily capture our “life experiences” in digital forms. Digital cameras and wearable computers may record life events from a first person point-of-view and the detailed usage of personal computers could be logged in a historical database. However, even with such digital records, we cannot easily understand experiences of other people. Watching digital photos would be far from directly experiencing others’ consciousness. Ikemoto’s goal is ambitious and she made the Conscious Dome.