This multimodal piece derives from the desire to transcend the limitation of our living experience exploring the deeper meaning of mutualistic relationships and interspecies communication between humans and animals, specifically the animals gaze in juxtaposition to the human gaze. While humans distinguish fruit from foliage visually, via their ability to discriminate red and green acquired throughout biological evolution, bats do not rely on the primacy of the visual sense. Specifically, nectar feeding bats find flowers by sorting the environment using visual and sonar information. They can recognize the geometry of a single flower by generating so-called “echo-fingerprints”. The Eye of the Other translates these fingerprints into audible frequencies and visual, sensual patterns comprehensible to human senses.
Behind the project there is a deep fascination by the way a nectar bat processes and filters relevant information from the environment to make sense of its perception. It must find hundreds of tiny flowers each night in a highly cluttered rainforest sorting out visual, olfactory and sonar information. The Eye of the Other explores bio-inspired design not through the creation of objects but rather as an alteration of an environment to stimulate biological processes and behaviours in a desired way. This long span artwork translates the nectar bats’ perceptual world into perceptual patterns a human can understand – from echolocation to our senses such as hearing, seeing, and touching.
The installation displays a synthetic autonomous flower and the visual/spectrum resembling the cognitive domain of the animal in response to that specific geometries. The design of the flower has been developed to stimulate on a visual and olfactory level both the human and the animal. After the exhibition, the synthetic flower will be integrated into the Terrarium of the Schönbrunn Vienna Zoo, and favour a series of new field experiments.
Collaborators: Dr. Ralph Simon, Andrea Reni, Patricia Tibu Supported by: Federal Chancellery of Austria – Bundeskanzleramt, Bandits-Mages, Tiergarten Schönbrunn Vienna The Eye of the Other III “On Flowers” was realised within the framework of the European Media Art Platforms EMARE program at Bandits-Mages (Bourges, France) with support of the Creative Europe Culture Programme of the European Union.