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PICKED: Escape Vehicle No. 6

As much as it provides a zeitgeist of “how society is now,” modern art also has the capacity to inspire us by combining media, objects, environments and concepts in ways which challenge our understanding or simply make us sit back and go, “Now that’s cool.”

Simon Faithfull was commissioned by Artscatalyst to produce his piece Escape Vehicle no. 6 — a generic office chair attached to a balloon and filmed, live, as it rises 30 kilometers into the edge space before hurtling back to earth. The video itself is haunting: You follow the chair rising through clouds, and watch the sky get darker before the chair floats, almost silent, in an environment with temperatures of -60º, where humans could simply not exist.

Part of the fascination of art like this comes from its ability to scale our perspective — to change how we look at endeavours. We typically associate a journey to space with multimillion budgets, enormous engineering and rousing soundtracks. With Escape Vehicle No. 6, your eyes remain transfixed on this incredibly mundane (or, as Simon calls it, “pathetic”) object undergoing an extraordinary journey — a proxy for own dreams, aspirations and sense of adventure as human beings.

Vikas Shah writes Thought Economics, where he interviews some of the world’s most influential thinkers, from CEO’s to astronauts to artists and more. By day, Vikas is founder and CEO of strategy consultancy Thought Strategy. You can follow him on Twitter.


Published March 17, 2011

https://www.brainpickings.org/2011/03/17/extreme-armchair-viewing/

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