Camera Silens

Camera Silens (1994) is an installation for one user at a time a completely sealed-off chamber equipped with a dentist’s chair and a closed-circuit surveillance system.


The work refers to a research project at the university clinic in Hamburg Eppendorf, which was suspended in 1973 due to outraged public discussions. Psychiatrist Jan Gross and his colleague Peter Kempe had set up 3 years earlier a “Camera Silens”, an anechoic and nearly soundproof chamber, to conduct investigations of the effect of “social isolation and sensory deprivation” on both healthy test persons and patients at the psychiatric hospital under conditions of total separation from natural surroundings (as wikipedia says [citation needed]).0aaacameraaao.jpg

Artists Olaf Arndt and Rob Moonen copied this “Camera Silens” to refer to experiments involving the complete control of the human consciousness.

The reference to the theme of sensory deprivation allows connections
to be made to the solitary confinement of prisoners, as well as to various methods of brainwashing. It indicates the possibility of regarding the human brain as a hard disk in a metaphorical sense, which can be deleted and re-written.

Related: Art Oriente Objet‘s The Museum of Natural Horror which references Harry Harlow‘s experiments on the “science of affection”; Timeline: Solitary Confinement in U.S. Prisons.