Digital Arts and New Media: MFA: Collaboration, Innovation, Social Impact

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Gene A Felice II: The Screen Doors of Perception

The project revolves around the theme of the “threshold” and explores the paths that we take in our lives from childhood through adolescence and onward to adulthood.

PROJECT DETAILS:  http://genefelice.com/art/2009/05/31/the-screen-doors-of-perception/

“The Screen Doors of Perception” (S.D.O.P.) is a three part, interactive, sculptural
installation funded by a grant from the Media Arts Project and initially created for a site-specific, outdoor setting. The project revolves around the theme of the “threshold” and explores the paths that we take in our lives from childhood through adolescence and onward to adulthood. The project consists of three different doorways, each with a corresponding doorknob that has been engineered and produced through the process of Rapid Prototyping (3D printing). Each knob as has a quote from William Blake’s “The Doors of Perception”, either protruding from or engraved into it’s surface.

A special thanks goes out to Chris Perryman for assisting in the creation of Door #1.

My initial plan was to create this piece for an indoor space, but after moving to Western North Carolina in July of 07’, I was given the amazing privilege of having access to a large amount of outdoor space for experimentation. It’s located on a 105-acre farm, in the Big Sandy Mush Community, just outside of Leicester, North Carolina. Next to my house is a unique landscape setting that used to be an orchard, but was currently under the control of a honeysuckle invasion. Since October of 07’, I had been pruning back large parcels of the honeysuckle and created a system of paths
that lead visitors from one area to another. These areas include small “nooks” that have been carved out to hold specific parts of the (S.D.O.P.) installation.

Each doorway is self-contained, as you will see in my 3D visualizations (see proposal). These portals have one side that is facing that viewer, calling for interaction through a series of luring techniques. This includes a glowing light pulse from the doorknobs themselves, which have been manufactured from translucent plastics. Each doorway also have unique methods for inviting the viewer to participate. This includes Audio, Video and Interactive methods resulting from the use of motors and sensors controlled by two micro controller systems: the Basic Stamp and Arduino. Each of these devices  allow me to create real and unreal experiences between the viewers and the doors.

Here is a breakdown of each door and it’s themes:
Door #1: {Childhood} – {viewless} The Past, Memory, Distortion of Time, Idealization, Fictionalization, Down the Rabbit Hole… Video Content: Autobiographical, Family history, Past memories, etc.
Door #2: {Adolescence} – {closed view} Inside, Understanding, Testing, Security, Paranoia, Trapped Worlds, Distortion of Reality, The Butting of Heads… Video Content: Live footage from several wireless and wired pinhole cameras and
some pre-recorded material.
Door #3: {Adulthood} – {open view} Balance, Possibility, The World beyond our Doorsteps, Space & Time, Simplicity

Video Content: Over 150 Video Clips from my travels across the US and Central America.

Finally, each of the doorways are powered through a series of alternative methods. The first doorway requires very little power (around 30 watts) so I used a Powerfilm, integrated solar panel to power this part of the installation. The second doorway uses more power than the first, but no more than 200 watts, so I used a single bicycle generator to power this part of the installation. Either a volunteer or myself power this portal. Finally, the 3rd doorway will use the most amount of energy, so it will require the use of at least 2 or possibly 3 bicycle generators or a windmill to power it’s LCD projector. Currently I only have the budget for one operational bike generator, so the third door’s power source is TBD until funding is aquired.