Human < > Object

An exploration of the words 'Human' and 'Object' in the context of existence, co-existence and non-existence


'An object affects another object by translating it, as best it can, into its own terms... A perfect translation of one object by another would entail the destruction of that object.' (Timothy Morton, 2013)

Can a human exist as an object? Can an object exist as a human?

Birth: The birth of an object results from a distortion of the original. A rift opens up. The essence of the original separates from its appearance.

Persistence: Whilst this rift suspends itself, the object persists. The object is.

End: In the collision with another, the object ends. Fragments are left behind and we can no longer point to either the object or its end. The object dies.

In an attempt to trace this path the project has undertaken the same process, been transformed from one to the other and back again. In order to find the object and trace its path we need to follow through with its perpetual metamorphosis, transformation and rebirth to look for the entanglements of this line, look for the in-between. The human is taken through a process to create a plastic replica of itself, reducing any aspects of biology, communication or compassion to that of a 3-dimensional mesh able to be printed in layers of Polylactic Acid. The process was repeated three times through three different programmes; an app, a piece of software and a 3D scanner, by changing the method the outcome is itself transformed. The human is taken over and translated into that of an object, the object bears an uncanny resemblance to the human but it is only an amalgamation of plastic. It both is and is not the human. We see areas that are missing, incomplete, distorted, extended. The eyes are void; there is no definition between one area and another, no colour, no texture, only the contours of that which we find familiar. These objects echo the human in form, the appearance of the human remains and we continue to experience them as before. But the essence, that which is the human-in-itself, has been separated. The human ends and the object is born.

To re-translate these objects, or, to re-introduce the humanity that was once removed is fundamentally not an additive process, elements within each are re-purposed to follow the path back. Re-birth of the human in the translation of the object. However all we are met with is the uncanny resemblance of where we began, human and object are no longer distinguishable states of existence and what we are left with is an in-between. An otherness, someone else combined with something else. Familiar but equally a stranger. Ultimately we see there is no separation between the human and the object; one is perpetually present within the other.

Visual Interaction: The face, the eyes, the expression are all elements we connect with. They are the external markers of humanity, we understand them, interpret them; we form an initial bond with them above all else. 3D printed object, projector, leap motion.

Communication Interaction: Humour, sarcasm, agitation, antagonism, kindness. These are aspects of humanity considered as the basis of human language, how we communicate and build relationships. 3D printed object, Arduino, LCD display shield, motion sensor.

Heartbeat Interaction: Biological properties that separate animate from inanimate, to have a pulse is to be alive. 3D printed object, bass amplifier, iPod.

If the elements of one are perpetually present in the other, then their birth and death are always-already present both within the other and of themselves. The human forgets that it’s a human and gives itself to the translation process, but within this we cannot point to where the human ended and the object began. What we do see is that there is no end of one object and then the beginning of another. The two modes of time intersect, an object's destructive relating and the futural not-yet-ness of beginning. The two are occurring at the same time in different dimensions, in different modes of existence, outside of linear time in the 'Moment'.

'The glass is forgotten - not by us, but by the shards' (Timothy Morton, 2013)

Or, the human is forgotten - not by us, but by the plastic.

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