Solo Exhibition at Roman Susan
In his book of fiction Phi: A Voyage from the Brain to the Soul, neuroscientist Guilio Tononi writes of a “qualiascope”, a hypothetical device that measures integrated information of surrounding spaces and things.
“Qualia" are subjective experiences: pain from a stubbed toe, the taste of food, the perception of color. These experiences can only be expressed and interpreted - there are no tools for systematically measuring one’s qualia.
Contained within Roman Susan’s space are phenomena for which there are tools for measuring: temperature, light movement, volume of sounds. Are these more objective, more real, than an individual’s perceptions, due to their quantifiability? I responded to this question by treating the phenomena as subjective experiences.
Qualiascope invites the public to understand how a room feels: to repeatedly watch light move from side to side; to feel limited warmth; to hear sudden conversations; to absorb water. Each isolated experience, presented in the form of flip books and various animation objects, contains a series of increments much like any calculating tool. The sounds and images, separate yet connected, allow the visitor to control their own rate of “playback”, as well as suggest a different scale of duration: a room’s sense of time.
In this environment, metaphor is as valid a measuring device as a thermometer, and empathy provides objectivity.