Illuminating embodiment talks about how the human body is entangled in all life and meaning, which has led to works that highlight or expand on this entanglement. Rafael Lozeno Hemmer is one artist who has used this concept to create enlightening works that reimagine the relation of humans to architecture, and humans to technology. One work which has caught my attention is Displaced Emperors, where Rafael Lozeno Hemmers used human interaction with technology to reconstruct views of the Habsburg Castle in Linz, Austria. Participants were to point at the facade, which activated 3D sensors, revealing a projected hand, and whenever the hand moved, a projection of the interior of the structure was shown, bringing life and history to a piece of architecture that was once in its glory. The artwork also enabled people to feel more connected to a historical structure, which increases their empathy towards their culture and their history. The human entanglement is then emphasised by allowing humans to interact with a structure that was built by the same kind.
The reading mentioned: “These elements provided pleasurable sensual experiences for the participants and create surprising associations between distant geographical and historical settings, stimulating the user to mediate on other buildings, other histories, and other ways of cultural commemoration.” This reminded me of the Singapore Heritage Light Up Singapore event, where certain landmarks across Singapore were lit up in the country’s national colours – red and white – to commemorate its independence. Not only was this a celebratory action, but it also served as a connecting point for Singapore’s history, and the individual building’s history. Just like how revealing projections on Habsburg Castle helped to revive distant connections in history, the lighting up of certain landmarks in Singapore helped to connect different points of history and weave out a certain story of Singapore.
I do feel that in terms of interaction, Displaced Emperors still was able to engage the people in a more personal sense, through physical interaction of the building (using 3d sensors). It would be nice to see Singapore’s future light-up events to involve these forms of interactions, which could be effective with the current safe distancing measures.