max/msp/jitter, 4-channel security camera system, laptop computer
Jump is an installation consisting of 4 cameras in a semicircle. The visitor is instructed to stand directly in the center of the semicircle, then there is a countdown, 3...2...1...JUMP! A flash goes off and a picture is captured while the participant is in midair. The photos are combined by a Max/MSP/Jitter patch into a ghostly composite image of the participant frozen in midair, apparently levitating and reminiscent of the 1000-armed Guanyin, the Buddhist god of compassion. The image is then printed out and presented back to the participant and the rest of the visitors.
Like a Zen master throwing a shoe at a student in order to almost shock them into enlightenment, Jump compels the viewer to spontaneously jump thereby breaking free from rigid patterns of behavior and being more present in the now. In that instance, something of the essence of a person is revealed.
By seeing ourselves from many perspectives at once our Buddha nature is revealed and the inherent "emptiness" of all things including the self becomes apparent. By emptiness I of course don't mean the everyday language meaning of emptiness. Buddhist teachings use emptiness as a metaphor for the idea that the distinctions that we make between what is something and what is not that thing are not inherent in the world itself, but instead are mental events, thoughts and concepts arising in our minds.
The ultimate truth is that everything is interconnected, everything flows into everything else. The universe is a connected flow of matter and anytime we see things as separate it is an abstraction arising in our mind, an illusion.