A Place
to Departure

Does technology keep people away or closer?

In the context of digitalization of the known processes of social interaction, technology often appears as a villain in the social plot. It is portrayed in films and stories as something that dehumanizes, enslaves and ultimately kills the human being as we know.

Edson Pavoni proposes, in A Place to Departure, 2013, an optimistic image for the use of technology as an instrument of connection between humans and discusses our responsibility to design and support technological artifacts that bring us together.

A Place to Departure is an interactive installation that allowed a person in Beijing, China, to feel the touch of a person in São Paulo, Brazil.

The installation, which is composed of a wooden plate and a glass plate fitted crosswise, evokes signs of non-technological objects such as a wall and a window.

However, when someone touched the glass in Beijing and someone else touched the glass in São Paulo, in the same place and at the same time, the two people felt as if they touched each other through a gentle vibration.

The sensors that monitored the position of someone's hands touching the glass, the actuators that made the glass vibrate and all the communication electronics between installations were hidden inside the structure of the work, invisible to visitors, so that all was left was only people and connection between them.

The technology is not limited to electronic components, which quickly become obsolete. The technology, which becomes transparent there, is an extension of the human hand.


A Place to Departure in the United Arab Emirates

In 2015, commissioned by the largest art and design event in the United Arab Emirates, DDD, the installation A Place to Departure was assembled again. This time to connect the historic district of Al Fahid with the new district of Dubai.

In Arab culture, touch is a sacred and restricted symbol. Women touch only their husband or members of their family.

The symbolic force of touch through the installation crossed the metaphorical field and created conflicts in some participants. During the exhibition, some women, when they understood the dynamics of the installation and the possibility of touching, even remotely and symbolically, a stranger, decided not to touch the glass.

What reinforces the intimacy in the possible connection through the installation and, consequently, technology.


Artist:
Edson Pavoni

Curator:
Olivia Yassudo

Gallery:
Coletivo Amor de madre

Executive producers:
João Marcos de Souza, Olimpia Pavoni and Nana Janus

Production Strategy and Design Leader:
Pagu Senna

Designers:
Felipe Minuti, Carolina Anselmo, Vitor Reis, Zeh Fernandes, Junior Magalhães and Raphael Fagundes

Electronics:
André Biagioni and Diego Spinola

Software:
Victor Gama, Armando Neto and Robson Coelho

Photography:
Isabela Herig, Pedro Fonseca and Juliana Matos

Video:
Jorge Teivelis Neto and Pedro Fonseca