My design process flows from an initial idea and then creating an image of how I visualize the product on my computer. Next, the question arises: Can the design I’ve visualized be made? A computer offers unlimited creative freedom, but in the real physical world there are many restrictions. This was the case as I began to create the “Estis Leg Lamp.” I continually thought up ideas for revamping the human body into some sort of design. But I was never actually able to come up with a concrete concept. A year or two ago, when watching television, I saw a clip of the movie “A Christmas Story” and in one scene there was a campy looking leg lamp. I just sat there stunned, taking in this image. This is exactly what I wanted to recreate. This product would be the first I would design, inspired by the image in the movie, but with my own aesthetic.
What is reality?
So, what would my unique aesthetic be? It could only be something in line with my own values and point of view, something that evolves from within my soul, an aesthetic that is uniquely mine. I immediately knew the answer when asking myself the question. It must satisfy my never-ending quest for the comprehension of reality. Reality? Yes, reality! I am a child of the nineties and in that decade there were a few great movies that played with the concept of reality. The most important were “Fight Club” and “The Matrix.” I studied Fight Club intensely. I even wrote an analysis of the movie (in Dutch) when I was studying religion. In short, Fight Club asks us what it is to be a man in this world of consumerism. But the movie that had the most impact was The Matrix.
The Matrix is an adaptation of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. What we see is a shadow of reality. We must wake up to see what is real. Do we take the blue pill or the red pill? Recent developments in technology cause me to question reality more, especially the rise of artificial intelligence and above all, virtual reality. Virtual reality shows that this world can be replaced with an alternative world. At the moment, virtual reality is still rough around the edges. We see it mainly emerging on a visual level. But is it too farfetched to imagine that a total immersion would be possible in the near future?
I started wondering, what if we put a highly intelligent being into a computer game? If it would research its own reality, what would it find? What would this entity find if it were to study an object? In our physical world, we would find molecules. In the game world you would find a mesh of polygons. This is what I decided to do: I wanted to put the reality of the computer world back into our real world. I would design a leg made out of polygons, so that people could see a leg, but also an object that plays with the concept of reality. The Estis Lamp is my way of expressing an alternate reality. A reality from the gaming world that is brought back into this world.