Gustav Hellberg

Privileged Situation utopian vision

Galleri Andersson Sandström, Stockholm, 2008
Privileged Situation – utopian vision is an interactive installation, a device, which is an attempt to create a metaphoric simulator where people will be in involuntary interaction with an electro-technical structure. The device monitors a defined space and feeds back light if objects are detected within the space. The principle is simple; a sensor detects an object and triggers a small lamp to cast a narrow beam of light onto the object.

Inside the installation you will move through a forest of invisible vertical sensor beams. Sensors are mounted next to small spotlights on aluminium frames, hanging down from the ceiling (10 LED-spotlights and 10 sensors on each frame). When your body is beneath a sensor it triggers the spotlight which will cast a narrow beam of light straight down, on the body part obstructing the beam. The body (body parts) will be illuminated on a spot straight under each spotlight. An upright standing person will approximately simultaneously trigger four to six spotlights. Wherever you move you will activate sensors and corresponding spotlights, meaning that you will find yourself in a small space of light surrounded by darkness.
Dimensions: Variable

Material: aluminium, LEDs, photocells, steel wire, and transformer
Social situations interlaced with basic architectural and sculptural ideas.
This artwork is a simulator for cohabitation, co-operation, interactivity and symbiosis. People that enter the machine and the machine itself are components subjected to an interplay between people and people and people and the machine. The machine plays the principle part. It provides a given structure with which the other factors (people and people’s activity) will interact.

The restricted visibility field limits one’s perception of space. You will find you have less information for your body to relate to, such as references to scale, position and similar spatial aspects – orientation in space is brought to a minimum.  Light is a privilege for humans as it gives us an opportunity to see in dim light or in darkness. However, light is always surrounded by darkness, which means that actually seeing beyond the light is left to our imagination.

We trust what we can see and an illuminated situation creates a feeling of certainty and comfort. The privileged situation we create with our civilisation, aided by technical structures, reassures us. We are constantly changing our habitat and we crave development, always looking ahead to something that we think will be better – visions of a better or perfect world. Can we see it?