Head in a box

Even though ESCAPE is largely imprinted in the collective mind as being the emergency-exit button on every physical keyboard since its invention in the 1960’s [1], many more definitions can be attributed to this single term. Past half year our research, contributing to the Semester Project of the Media Technology department at Leiden University, has led us to consider many different sides of this preselected term and view it in the light of the overall theme: RETURN. This section will guide you quickly through our process of coming to a statement that we want to convey at the upcoming exhibition.

In the course of four months we have researched many topics as part of the verb: “escaping”. At first, we figured, people always have the urge to escape; since everyone’s daily life is just so boring. All activities used to relax are focused on leaving the here-and-now for a moment and dive into a different world. Consider: watching a movie, doing drugs, adhere to a religion, having sex, or exercising.

Then, as a follow-up, we took a step back and contemplated what ‘life’ really exists out of, in terms of escapism: what are we essentially escaping from? All of a sudden Time and Space started playing a part in our research and the first concept started taking shape. We wanted to offer people a way to control these aspects of life and escape from the exhibition. Either by letting them control time with an hourglass, opening a door to another location on the globe, or having a garden to sit in and enjoy the sound of birds. However, we did not want our concept to become too complicated to grasp.

In the third part of our research we evaluated all products people use on a day-to-day basis to escape from the aspects mentioned two paragraphs back. In our opinion the smartphone is one of the devices used most for this. Whenever there is a moment of boredom or inefficiency we grab our phones and fill the void with likes, swipes and tweets. People want to get away from all their busy lives and look for their own, personal space. Rather sooner than later. This, we decided, will be the main focus of our statement and give form to our work for the exhibition.

People isolate themselves from the rest of the world and hardly pay attention to their surroundings anymore [2]. You can change your place, you can hide yourself from people, and you can watch a movie or read a story, but you will always be with yourself;


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