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Pharmakon is an immersive and interactive installation that offers a path through a set of universes representing metaphorically the human brain areas.
The title is based on an ambiguous Greek notion, meaning both remedy and poison, as a metaphor for our relationship to technology, which always oscillates between attraction and repulsion.
The installation is divided into two spaces, each with a separate entrance
One of the two spaces is used for the virtual reality space, the other for on-screen viewing of it. There should be no communication between the two, the objective being to thwart the expectations of the person immersed in the VR environment and its interaction with it.
It is therefore a metaphorical modelling of the human brain, the basic level allows entry into one of the 4 areas: language/reason, auditory, balance/proprioception and a meta-level of the memory which is only accessible once you have completed the first 3 areas. “Pharmakon” questions the relationship to the body, to materiality in this “virtual” world, it questions the problem of embodiment, of incarnation, and more generally new perceptual relationships generated by these new technological devices. But also the relationship to movement, to gesture as a symbol of the process. The aim here is to highlight the ambiguity of the virtual toward the identity issue.
Unlike the classical philosophical thought, which has for so long aimed at establishing the notion of identity as fixed, unique and stable, on which our relations are then constructed, the relationalist ontology tends to reverse this perspective and to show that relations are the foundation of identities, which in turn are therefore multiple and subjected to changes over time. If we presuppose this relational ontology that highlights the experience of the “dividual”, should we not think that the body of this “dividual” is therefore dividual too?. Can we still use the classical notion of body linked to an individual body, or should we instead think a dividual body? A dividual experience is it then possible, or a contradiction in terms? Does the notion of embodiment is still relevant when the concept of body is already problematical?
The continuous movement of the real undermines the possibility of a diachronic identity principle : what guarantees the stability of the essences in the unmanageable line of time? The discretization of the movement tries to recover the diachrony of identity but the ruptures that it presupposes in the time line tend to create the opposite effect.
There is also a game about the relationship between gesture and cartography that opens up to a much broader question about its ambiguous relationship with the openness involved in the movement. This is what leads us to a “virtual meta-ontology” that truly accepts a primary multiplicity and is placed in the interstice of the movement to escape all systematism.
The VR environment was realized under Unreal Engine 4.20.3 and is available for the Oculus Rift VR headset and the Kinect camera V.2.