Opening next week artist and designer Pod Bluman invites you to participate in The Gut, an interactive experience that explores pathways of connection between human beings. Informed by a three-decades-long design practice specialising in the use of technologies to design complicated and hybrid systems, and a recently completed MRes exploring the impact of awe and immersion in public at the Royal College of Art, Blumanhas created an agile audio-visual environment that reacts to participants’ behaviour and builds upon the human instinct to build relationships, often manifested as a gut feeling.
Today, digital platforms and personal devices have created a paradox that sees us at once better and worse connected–with a greater number of connections of deteriorating quality. Despite encouraging openness and sharing, which often results in what could be considered over-exposure, social media, in particular, create a wall behind which we can hide–from where we can curate heavily edited, only partially true, representations of ourselves. Bluman confronts this paradox, challenging us to be vulnerable and open when face to face with someone and somewhere new, this immersive environment to encourage people to express themselves in an intuitive and perhaps vulnerable way, bypassing self-curation and self-censorship.
Most people believe that vulnerability is weakness, but really vulnerability is courage…(it)is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.Dr. Brené Brown
Visitors to the experience will be paired with a stranger and, on entering The Gut, will be asked a series of questions to be answered using movement and gesture, rather than words. Their reactions will be instantaneously translated into a series of audio and visual representations immerse the participants ‘within’ their own instinctive, emotional experience-not only reflecting but enhancing it, creating a feeling of awe that research shows makes people notably pro-social and fosters relationships.
“Suddenly, you’re in a room with a stranger. And you’re reaching out to each other across the colour and the sound and It feels like, alright, yeah, well we’re in this together now.”
With The Gut, Bluman hopes to use awe and immersion to create an environment that helps people transcend the everyday, become more receptive to new ideas, focus less on themselves and feel part of a larger whole–and says,
“I want people to leave feeling connected, understood, seen.”