Phantasmic Crystal Interface
The ‘Phantasmic Crystal Interface’ installation is a holistic approach to giving shape to the objects and hardware that allow us to connect with our digital selves. Sitting behind a computer and engaging with our digital selves can be seen as entering a certain type of trance. By connecting our minds with this machine, especially when playing video games, we merge with an avatar that lives on a different spiritual plane. Throughout history different cultures have always found ways to connect to avatars by way of trance and have designed many attributes and rituals to be able to set the mind right for these spiritual journeys. The computer is an essential piece of technology for the connection to one’s digital self, yet always looks like a closed-off metal box that is tucked away in some corner. Schimmel thinks that the computer deserves a more prominent role in the furniture of our households as it serves just as much, if not more purpose, as other furniture archetypes such as the chair or the couch. But even more than that it is the symbolic representation of the gateway to the digital plane. The way that technology is often designed and portrayed is based around the believe that there is a separation between knowledge and experience. It can be seen in the way gaming computer hardware is designed. It is very much stuck in fetishizing the so believed representative qualities of technology: speed and power. Therefore, it seems that technology can never be associated with frivolous decoration. The worlds in video games themselves however are full of spiritual and decorative elements such as power crystals, life mana, magic, jewels and gems, ancient shrines and so on. The symbolism and artefacts that exist inside these digital worlds were the inspiring factor to create a computer, breaking free from the one-sided mandate of technology, that can act as a spiritual interface to our digital selves. It is a shrine that acts as a gateway between the two worlds.