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Pleasure with[out] control

Studio Project with Christian Baumgartner

Supervised by Francois Roche, Assistance Werner Skvara

Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, 2017

In Pleasure with[out] control, we explore the nature of our responses to the built environment. How can a better understanding and appreciation of all our senses contribute to a new typology for the design of significant spaces? The human body as a biochemical machine. All psychical and physical situations of oneself can be described in a database level, while analyzing the natural processes of the human body. The human body and his emotions are directly connected to each other. In our scenario we are using sensors attached to the body measuring the electrical flow through the skin, the respiratory frequency & volume as well as the heartbeat & heart rate, like a simple polygraph. Through that the machine is able to interact with the human being. This interaction will be understood by the machine as well as triggered with the mentioned situation in a loop of active and reactive processes. That means, it can influence the human behavior and even capture and deal with his emotions, able to manipulate his psychical a physical situation. The collected data stream will be evaluated and reinterpreted by the machine.

The breathing is considered as one of the main significant parts of the human psyche. It is not possible to breathe slowly and calmly, and at the same time be excited. Holding on the breath is often used to suppress unpleasant feelings and to relieve pain. Our scenario is about autoerotic asphyxiation. There the person is controlling his own strangulation and is trying to come as close as possible to the loss of consciousness to feel the highest sensation. Not as a fetish, but more as a physiological reaction of the human body. It is defined by the loss of oxygen to the brain. This can increase feelings of giddiness, light-headedness, and pleasure - a natural process of the body. The line between pleasure and pain are coming close till they overlap each other. The steady increase of pleasure leads to a release of adrenaline dopamine. From ‘control over’ to ‘loss of control’ – the moment of ecstasy.  When the climax is reached, the machine is no longer able to distinguish between pleasure and pain, since the biochemical processes emitted is equal in both cases.

The human metabolism is working as a complex network of data exchange influencing each other - everything is connected. The machine gives physical feedback that affects the human psyche. Related to Chinese medicine these biochemical processes can be influenced through acupressure, where every line and point is connected to a related organ. Our machine is a living organism feeding itself from its own created structure - growing and forming bundle of strings - wrapping around the body, compressing, creating contracting muscles and knots. It is permanently informed about the human and atmospheric behavior as well as that of the machine itself. The machine takes pleasure in the erotic subordinate order of its counterpart and the subjectively perceived imbalance of power, while focusing on specific points relating to the acupressure. It is an infinite cycle of continuous updates of data. Taking Architecture as a risk. Architecture should be a physical challenge. Leaving your comfort zone leads you to another level of stimulation - It is a play from ‘control over’ to ‘loss of control’. Architecture should be a physical challenge that demands (again?) for the mind-boggling user. A dialogue between the human being and it’s surrounding structure.