After the completion of my MFA thesis project, "The Participatory Universe", I was searching for scientific theories that are relevant to my own thesis, which would give me an inspiration to move on to the next stage of the project. This post-thesis fellowship project is inspired by Robert Lanza’s scientific theory, Biocentrism
and a philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay, “Experience
”. Biocentrism asserts that the conscious awareness of animate beings is central to reality and the cosmos — life creates the environment, and the universe. Lanza insists that current theories of the physical world do not work, and can never be made to work, until they fully account for life and consciousness.
Lanza's theory of Biocentrism has following seven principles.
1. What we perceive as reality is a process that involves our consciousness. An "external" reality, if it existed, would by definition have to exist in space. But this is meaningless, because space and time are not absolute realities but rather tools of the human and animal mind.
2. Our external and internal perceptions are inextricably intertwined. They are different sides of the same coin and cannot be divorced from one another.
3. The behavior of subatomic particles, indeed all particles and objects, is inextricably linked to the presence of an observer. Without the presence of a conscious observer, they at best exist in an undetermined state of probability waves.
4. Without consciousness, "matter" dwells in an undetermined state of probability. Any universe that could have preceded consciousness only existed in a probability state.
5. The structure of the universe is explainable only through biocentrism. The universe is fine-tuned for life, which makes perfect sense as life creates the universe, not the other way around. The "universe" is simply the complete spatio-temporal logic of the self.
6. Time does not have a real existence outside of animal-sense perception. It is the process by which we perceive changes in the universe.
7. Space, like time, is not an object or a thing. Space is another form of our animal understanding and does not have an independent reality. We carry space and time around with us like turtles with shells. Thus, there is no absolute self-existing matrix in which physical events occur independent of life.
Lanza references one of Emerson’s essays, “Experience” in his book, which mirrors his idea. The essay illustrates transcendentalist’s notion of the cosmological view on the relationship between human perception and the universe. In the essay the wilderness is utilized as a metaphor of the universe. For this project, I also came up with a specific subject to embody this abstract concept, like Emerson did when he describes his notion of the universe. Since I am a designer in California, I have chosen the Mojave Desert as the wilderness, the metaphor of my notion of the universe and I researched the relationship between this subject and people who have interacted with it.
“Ever afterwards, we suspect our instruments. We have learned that we do not see directly, but mediately, and that we have no means of correcting these colored and distorting lenses which we are, or of computing the amount of their errors. Perhaps these subject-lenses have a creative power; perhaps there are no objects”. - Excerpt from Emerson's essay, "Experience" -
// through the eon, the Mojave Desert's landscape has continued to change. it is changing now, and will continue to change a long time after we have departed. the forces of erosion slowly carve away at the ancient rock formations, re-shaping the surface of the land. the basin continues to subside. it is interesting to imagine, but impossible to predict. //
The desert can be a barren land of extremes for some people. The Mojave Desert is one of the hottest and driest places on the surface of the Earth with summer temperatures averaging well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Yet, this place is also a land of subtle beauty. The Mojave Desert is a treasure trove of scientific information about the ancient Earth, the origin of life and about the forces still working to shape our modern world. It is home to delicate ecosystems of plants, animals, and human beings that have adapted themselves to take advantage of its rare and hard won bounty. It is a story of western expansion, wealth, greed, suffering and triumph. For astronauts and scientists from NASA, the Mojave Desert is the scientific laboratory to test their equipment for the Mars expedition.
THE MOJAVE / POWER / GEOLOGICAL CONDITIONS / MARS ON EARTH
During my fellowship research period, I explored the various characteristics of the Mojave Desert as well as its philosophical implications, hoping to discover the unique and inspirational value to the contemporary design application.
First, the facts that most interested me were the whimsical methods of Native American’s life style, the interaction between native Indians and their surroundings. Secondly, the scientific interpretation on this specific area of astrophysicists and astro-biologists who collect and study the dust particles that contain microbes, which leads them to discover the origin of life.
left - sifter: detects microbes, microorganisms that are contained in the desert soil.
right - scanner
left - chemical detector: detects toxic chemical components from the venomous animals from the distance.
right - wind tunnel : the holes in the device will gather the information from air
After the research process, I came up with a set of tools for the desert expedition. Tool that has a function of delivering the sense of the native American way of interacting and appreciating the Mojave desert as well as delivering scientific information, which is buried under its magnificent appearance. Through exploring the part of the world that we are living, I wanted to let people to have a chance to feel the glimpse of connection between the massive system of the world and how it is connected to create the place where you are standing.