Gwyneth Anderson
Qualiascope

1224 W Loyola Ave, Chicago IL
November 18, 2014 - December 6, 2014



In his book of fiction Phi: A Voyage from the Brain to the Soul, neuroscientist Guilio Tononi writes of a “qualiascope”, a hypothetical device that measures integrated information of surrounding spaces and things. For her exhibition, Gwyneth Anderson borrows this device from Tononi in order to research Roman Susan’s space.

“Qualia" are subjective experiences: pain from a stubbed toe, the taste of food, the perception of color. These experiences can only be expressed and interpreted - there are no tools for systematically measuring one’s qualia.

Contained within Roman Susan’s space are phenomena for which there are tools for measuring: temperature, light movement, volume of sounds. Are these more objective, more real, than an individual’s perceptions, due to their quantifiability? Anderson responds to this question by treating the phenomena as subjective experiences.

Qualiascope invites the public to understand how a room feels: to repeatedly watch light move from side to side; to feel limited warmth; to hear sudden conversations; to absorb water. Each isolated experience, presented in the form of flip books and various animation objects, contains a series of increments much like any calculating tool. The sounds and images, separate yet connected, allow the visitor to control their own rate of “playback”, as well as suggest a different scale of duration: a room’s sense of time.

In this environment, metaphor is as valid a measuring device as a thermometer, and empathy provides objectivity.


Qualiascope Exhibition Guide (PDF)