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Themesicon: navigation pathAesthetics of the Digitalicon: navigation pathEndo-Aesthetics
Sensorama (Heilig, Morton), 1962TV-Helm (Tragbares Wohnzimmer) (Pichler, Walter), 1967

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with two theoretical results: first, that objective reality is only the inner side (endo) of an external world (exo), for which reason true reality differs from what it appears to observers to be; [7] second, that the truths differ according to their internal or external origin. «Perspective, as is well known, is not wholly objective—it is ‹observer-objective.› As an observer one inevitably distorts the world.» [8] «The world, which resembles a virtual reality without an emergency exit, can only be viewed from within. However, it is possible on a computer to generate lower-level worlds in which the interface between the explicit observer and the rest of his world can be explicitly investigated.» [9] This research defines itself as a meta-experiment, or second-level experiment based on the difference between endo and exo.

Observer dependency

The search for an internal reciprocity between viewer and work is one of the most important research areas of media art. Initial impulses came from the invention of visualization technologies for digital information and from immersion systems permitting a high degree of


feedback and an expanded relationship between observer and system. In 1962 Morton Heilig developed the «Sensorama,» an Environment consisting of a multisensorial stereo cinema arcade machine. Various simulation strategies like three-dimensional sounds, vibrations, drafts of air, or binocular views of the film convey to the audience tactile, visual, and olfactory sensory impressions. Heilig’s research interest focused on how viewers could feel immersed in the film by integrating the human senses, and on expanding artistic forms.

In 1967 Walter Pichler devised the «TV-Helm» (also known as «The Portable Living-Room»), a TV machine adapted to the shape of the head. With this forerunner of the data helmet used to visualize virtual reality, Pichler brought about a paradigm shift in the positioning of the viewer by making the perspective of the works dependent on that of the observer. Pichler’s basic idea was to make the subject an internal observer of the system, and thereby separate him from the real world (a direct critique of the isolation of the individual in the age of telecommunications). This he achieved by causing the

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