Sunday, 26 April 2015

Vanishing Point

Inspiration: Picture sent by Bandy Huijgers, one of my students Communication and Multimedia Design Breda.


Most people don’t mean it literally when they say their world turned upside down, I do, mine did. I’ve always been curious and was convinced that was a good thing, not anymore.

It all started with a little message on Facebook, sent to me by a friend. He was so excited! He found a new way of making ends meet. As students we were always broke and ways of making money was one of the favorite subjects of our more or less beer intoxicated talks on Friday nights, when the beer is promising and the bills are not.

At that moment I paid little attention to his message, he was nearly as impulsive as I am. Yes sadly I think I have to say ‘was’. My friend Owen has vanished, is gone. I really have no idea where he might be now, so sad, I miss him. He is or was the only one who could understand my fucked up world right now. We were in it together.

As design students we were very much into new technology, Owen even more than me. He found a little add from an agency, looking for testers, it had something to do with the Oculus Rift and mental illusion. To us it seemed like a job from heaven, all we had to do was to live in a virtual scrambled world for some weeks and cash a large sum of money. We even checked out the agency on the internet, testimonies and that sort of thing. It all looked very licit, official and trustworthy.

Some doubt crept in when we met the ‘professor’, in a place that resembled a crossover between a junkyard and a warehouse. It was all very hush-hush. We were asked to call a number on arrival and let in through a little door at the side of the building. Inside some containers were stacked together, being our homes for the next weeks, although the professor told us we were not confined to them.

He told us very proud that he had the next thing to an Oculus Rift, contact lenses based on some very secret technology, developed by army researchers. It would basically do the same thing as the Rift, project an image replacing the real vision. We would have to wear those lenses and yes there was this other thing. A tiny little camera had to be implanted in our foreheads. Just a minor operation, nothing to worry about. It hurt like hell.

The effect was amazing, it turned our vision upside down. You have no idea what that does to you. Even the most normal actions become weird and difficult to perform. The professor told us it would take our brains a couple of days to correct this vision and that despite the equipment we would start to see everything normal again. And he was right, that is exactly what happened.

So he took us to the next level, the lenses turned everything upside down again, or maybe just put it right. The next level however was to distort our surroundings even more. Not just upside down, but multiplying the closest object, repeating and minifying it. So my world is subdued to endless vanishing points, endless chairs, endless doors, endless trees. 

I live in a world without real dimensions now. I can’t even see what is behind the closest object, while it feels like I live in huge spaces. I can’t find Owen anymore, although I sometimes think I hear his voice. Maybe he is just a little bit behind the endless trees. I can’t find my cellphone either. I need to call the professor. I want this thing removed, now! I don’t even care about the money anymore.



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