No Man’s Land
No Man’s Land explores the paradoxical existence of no man’s lands and demilitarized zones around the world—manufactured landscapes resulting from historic political oppositions. There is a compelling narrative of irony in these spaces, where humans have forcefully inserted themselves in nature, but can no longer return due to fear of remnant military weaponry, like landmines, barbed wire, and shrapnel. But a border so fiercely guarded from the exterior is also fiercely protected within. Due to decades of human absence, the ecosystems have been given a second chance and once-endangered species have flourished in these zones. With every physical schism of political conflict, humans are writing themselves out of the Earth’s story.
Intended as a spatial narrative, the installation combines analog (mirrors) and digital media (projection mapping and augmented interaction in ultrasonic sensors to arduino and openFrameworks) to heighten the meaning of cause-and-effect, ultimately conveying how one’s disruption to the surrounding environment can impact the species and landscape.
Concept, Design questions, Goal
Demilitarized zones present a curious case of what earth will be like in destructive post-human settlements.The borders are a testament to the legacy of war and historical politics that we inherited from generations past, and a mirror to current trends of retracting to walls and nationalism. But, No Man’s Land also aims to tell the story of the poetic resilience of nature and the delicacy of the human body.
The installation is an interactive freestanding portal, representing the threshold between human (audience) and a perceived virtual space (demilitarized zone). It emphasizes borders and boundaries that are erected not by the height of fences but the width of devastation and patrol.
The constructed “doorway” is an interstitial, or liminal space—a symbol of a border and right of passage. The facing mirrors construct an optic infinity, using the convergence of light rays to make an apparent counterfeit of the real, and tricking the mind and body into feeling transported elsewhere, where there are special rules of engagement.
Full documentation can be found here.