Designer: Michael Harboun
Location: Paris, France
Category: Speculative Objects/Concepts
Award: Student Runner-Up
In a world in which we are constantly bombarded with injunctions to react or to distract ourselves it gets scarcely possible in our everyday life to dwell upon the essential, the existential, the metaphysical... Transcendenz transforms the reality around us and enables us to live and share immersive, thoughtful experiences.
Transcendenz is a personal "design reaction" to the world in which we are living. By observing our modern societies, a certain paradox caught my interest. This paradox concerns the way we behave in time. On one hand we are, in our everyday life, constantly trying to be efficient, organized and quick. As time is money, no time should be lost unnecessarily. We try to save every single minute and to be as productive as possible, which makes us busy people. On the other hand, when we are not working, we suddenly have so much time for ourselves that we don't know what to do with it anymore. Not knowing where to invest our time, most of us will simply consume it throughout different mediums. Facebook, YouTube, TV or videogames are some perfect examples. These information technologies provide us with a time of connection, distraction or interaction, thus taking away from us the empty time. The empty time is the most essential time. It is the time in which we are fully conscious about ourselves and our environment. It is the time in which we are sensitive to fundamental questionings and think about the existential; the type of thoughts which bring us back to our human nature, the only animal able to think beyond what he sees with his eyes and imagine the invisible. After my analysis, I aimed to create a concept which would link our modern information technologies to the invisible reality of metaphysics.
Core77: What's the latest news or development with your project?
Transcendenz has been labelled by the APCI with an Design Observeur 2012, a label sponsored by the French Ministry for the Economy, Industry and Employment, and will soonly be part of an exhibition at the famous Cite des Sciences et de l'Industrie in Paris from the 9th of November 2011 to the 11th of March 2012.
Any humorous incidents while you were making your project?
Some scenes of the film have been shot inside a bus we have rented. The bus was stationed on the company's parking lot. In one of the bus scenes, the main actor, had to dress up like a girl. He looked real. As he had to undress back later, another bus suddenly parked next to us and the driver peeked inside our bus. His reaction was worth recording too. He looked like he was hallucinating, probably thinking some very "marginal" movies were being shot on his company's parking lot...
After writing my thesis I had the idea of Transcendenz and the message I wanted to share but did not know the context in which I should tell the story. So one day I was sitting in the bus, looking out of the window and daydreaming as usually. The passing landscapes created some thoughts and imagery in my mind. After a certain time, I looked at the other passengers, wondering if some people would be doing the same. A unique feeling, mixing sadness and revolt, overwhelmed me as I discovered that all the people around me were absorbed into their smartphones. No one looked at each other nor were wondering about the landscape and environment through which they were travelling. In that particular moment, I knew the experience of Transcendenz should be initiated in a bus. The idea of travelling physically in space while travelling mentally inside the philosophical world of Transcendenz appealed to me like a flash of revelation.
Read on for full details on the project and jury comments.
More from Michael on the project