A Sense of Gravity
FILE Sao Paulo 2019
Electronic Language International Festival
With ‘A Sense of Gravity’, artist Teun Vonk has created an installation that lets you experience gravity anew. For two years, Vonk researched how our human bodies perceive and react to gravity. Without us being aware of it, the body continuously adjusts itself to the pull of gravity, maintaining balance. This process seems effortless and self-evident. Teun Vonk asked himself: How can I challenge the logic of gravity, of the bodily perception of gravity, with a machine or installation? Can I expand the boundaries of our everyday perception of gravity? Lying on his back on an elevated, floating platform in his studio, Vonk reflected on gravity and weightlessness. He realized that our bodies anticipate and adjust to what you see around you and the surface you walk on. It seems self-evident, especially since we spend most of our everyday life in interior spaces, with level floors. The artist set out to create a space that is not static, but that changes in size and shape. This interferes with the logic of spatial perception, ‘waking up’ your body’s sensory system and influencing our perception of gravity. Vonk experimented with visual and bodily sensations, taking his own physical reactions as a starting point. In close collaboration with designers and programmers, the artist developed this prototype immersive installation. This technological, futuristic looking machine harbours a dynamic, soft space that invites the viewer to submit to a very personal physical experience. All of the body’s senses are engaged, giving the viewer an awareness that changes their sense of gravity in a spectacular yet subtle way
In his early career Teun Vonk (1986, NL) researched and recorded human behaviour using photography and video. Now his practice has taken a radically different direction. In response to the current age of digitalisation and the strong focus on the visual, Teun Vonk creates immersive installations that evoke a bodily experience. Vonk takes his own body’s reactions as the starting point for his extensive research projects. He works closely together with programmers, scientists and designers to develop the technology that enables to have an experience that is universal, but experienced individually. With his installations, the artist helps us rediscover and become aware of our physical sensibility. As digitalisation and automation increase further, our perception of technology and the relationship between man and machine will change radically. Vonk is convinced that technology should aim to activate and enhance our physical sensibility, and to design our surroundings accordingly. With his installations, Teun Vonk offers a new perspective on the relevance of our physical being in the digital culture of the future.