Text by Marios Athanasiou
Beyond the Zero Point is the first in a series of works exploring the convergence of offline and online presence. The work takes as a starting point a theory originally developed by Gustav Fechner, the father of psychophysics, to describe what happens to the energy of human life after death. Inspired by Fechner’s theory of the afterlife, Beyond the Zero Point sets out to depict the merging of the space of tactile reality with the space of virtual reality.
The law of conservation of energy states that energy never springs into existence or ceases to exist, but simply changes form. Fechner used this law as a proof for the concept of life after death. The human body is powered by electricity and at the moment of death that electricity does not disappear but rather transforms itself into a different form of energy. According to Fechner, this energy goes on to exist in a different realm of reality, a realm beyond human sensory thresholds and therefore imperceptible to us.
Drawing inspiration from Fechner’s theory, Beyond the Zero Point frames the transition of human life from the offline social sphere into the online social sphere. In a time when the boundaries between our offline and online presence are becoming confused, these works set out to explore the consequences of such blurring of realities.
A sphere fountain filled with UV reactive liquid is placed in the middle of a darkened room. The liquid emits light by reacting to UV lights placed in the space. Upon entering the room the visitor perceives the fountain as a hovering green liquid sphere in constant motion. Hydrophones are placed at the bottom of the fountain to capture the sound of the liquid falling back inside the fountain tank. The sound is digitally manipulated and pitched down thirty semitones. The manipulated sound is then played back in the room through a four channel sound system. A 3D model of the sphere fountain that is reacting to the sound transmitted from the hydrophones is streaming online at mariosathanasiou.com throughout the duration of the installation.
Marios Athanasiou (born Athens, 1980) currently lives and works in London. He completed an MA in Studio Composition at Goldsmiths College in 2011 and a BA (Hons) Film and Music at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, in 2004. Athanasiou’s work explores human perception of reality through sound and vision and how digital technology can be used to manipulate and distort that reality. His work has been shown locally and internationally, and he has taken part in group exhibitions and festivals including Gone with the Wind and Resonance Open (Raven Row Gallery, London), the PNEM Sound Art festival in Uden, Netherlands, Poltergeist (Fort Gallery, London), and the Beginning Of The End Simultan Festival in Timisoara, Romania.