Zooming Window, 1998

26 October 2012

We keep going on accelerating life. In our culture, increasing speed is known as progress. To possess speed is to be modern. To control speed is a contemporary power: we appreciate the quick answer, the snap judgement, rather than careful consideration. Decisiveness is a strength, contemplation a weakness. Speed entered our lives with the industrial revolution and then the computerization. Despite the rapidity of our actions, allowed by the diverse machines and computers, we get impatient more quickly than ever before—anything that lasts, lasts simply too long—This is one of the effects of speed upon our lives. This effect is synonymous with the effects of a spreading globalization, where slower local cultures are displaced by an accelerated global monoculture. It is now possible to eat the same fast-food meal in every country you visit. In this way you don’t lose your time looking for a restaurant with unknown food. It is easier and quicker.

An airplane is the most rapid popular motion medium. For the airplane passenger, the space between departure and destination fades into a mere distance to be covered as quickly as possible. Speed makes distant places rush towards you. It abolishes distances and finally annihilates space. The landscape, due to high-speed, becomes abstract. We see an approximative shape of land and sea but trees, buildings, roads are indecipherable. We know that we are travelling at high speed, but we are no longer conscious of it. It is difficult to stop this growing speed frenzy but we can make people more aware of it and slow them down in their behaviour and thinking. This concept of Zooming Window would be an instrument of mental slowing-down. Where acceleration is the everyday norm, slowness becomes a non-conformist adventure.

The Zooming Window will make the landscape less abstract since it will be possible to see some close-up of recognizable objects which will be possible to describe. The natural motion of these captured images will remind us of the natural rhythm of earth composed for example by processes like growth, assimilation and regeneration which are usually considered much too slow by the industrial and post-industrial mind (world industry consumes as much fossil fuel as it takes the earth to produce in one million years.) This window is an incitement to waste a bit of our time. The easiness of manipulation (the technology aspect is voluntary hidden; there is nothing to manipulate : the simple touch of the window-screen, activates the zooming.) We expect that people would stop for a moment thinking about their job, their duties and dawdle in front of the window.

This window will incite contemplation and will disminish this association we do between contemplation and weakness.

The aim of this window is also to make people aware of the diversity of the earth they fly over with the possibility to focus on particular points of the earth and to discover in this way different cultures in a very particular and arbitrary point of view. The fact that we have much more chance to zoom and focus on spaces not for modified for the aim of tourism, this will remind us of the singularity of all cultures.

In his novel La Lenteur, Milan Kundera says: There is a secret bond between slowness and memory, between speed and forgetting. We expect that with this special window, passengers will remember more of their travel as a real displacement because they will have concentrated more on the images they selected. In this way, they will have drawn their own map, choosing images from a time to another, like little stones to remember where you had been.

The windows of planes are simultaneously normal transparent windows and tactile computer screens. The act of touching the screen creates a zooming action. The zooming interacts both sound and image at the same time. The simple removal of the finger from the screen deactivates the zoom function. No complicated technology aspects are visible, so this Zooming Window becomes a discreet element without technological agression.

client: Royal Socity of Art Student Award
format: DV video
duration: 2 min 21 s