Of Consciousness & Empathy / Andrés Chavez
Microaggression Glitch Installation, 2017
“This project was born out of the necessity for understanding. We live in a terribly politicized society where no one tries to understand each other. We hate, and we do not realize why. We fear, but we don’t understand what it is that we are afraid of. We need knowledge, wisdom, and a deep under- standing of our own selves to make this world a slightly less awful place.
After months of research, I discovered a hidden reality that lies within the darkest areas of our mind. I had found two terms that I had not heard of before, and these were Unconscious Bias and Microaggession. These two terms caught my attention because they are things that are absolutely present in our lives, yet most of the time they affect us in a way that is too subtle for us to realize unless we intentionally try to spot them.”
Through an interactive installation, visitors are able to experience what it feels like to be on the receiving end of a microaggression. One walks into an enclosed space where only a small camera is placed on a stool. Audio recordings of conversations can be heard, and the image of the visitor, as captured in real-time from the small camera, is projected on the far wall. As one is watching themselves and listening to the audio recorded conversation, the image will glitch when a microaggression is spoken, demonstrating the disorientation one feels when experiencing a microaggression.
Andrés created this project using Processing. The audio was coded to trigger a glitch in the camera output. He experimented with various visual effects before settling on one that was subtle but left the viewer feeling uneasy.