PCOMP/ICM - Final Project Idea

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The Box

I’m interested in building objects that live in a space.

My original idea for the box was for it to be just too small for an adult, but comfortable for a child. I envision each wall of the inside of the box to have an LED matrix on it, with the LEDs being diffused through a thick acrylic. I am still unsure of what I specifically see being displayed on the matrix though.

I have ideas of using the box

  • As a filter of what is going on in the room the box is inside. Putting IR cameras on each side of the box and filtering what is going on outside the box.

  • As a diffused light mirror of the individual inside the box

Things I’m still considering

  • Is there sound? Is it filtering an altering the audio outside the box?

  • Maybe the user will be directed to close their eyes. Light therapy?

  • What is drawing the user inside the box? Why does someone go inside of a space?

  • How does the box react to you?

    • Heart-rate sensors?

Woman inside an accumulator

Woman inside an accumulator

Wilhelm Reich

When explaining my project to classmate Dana Elkis she suggested I research Dr. Wilhelm Reich’s work and his Orgone Accumulators.

“Dr. Wilhelm Reich was an Austrian psychoanalyst who trained with Sigmund Freud.  He believed that the atmosphere was full of a life energy that he called “Orgone.” That energy, he claimed, controlled everything from the weather to your emotions to the way your body moves to the health of your sexual relationships. “ [1]

  • Credited with helping start the sexual revolution in America

  • He pioneered the field of what he termed "orgonomy" in the 1950s, after he discovered a form of energy he called "orgone."

  • Reich determined Orgone was a major influence in a person's sexual performance.

  • As such, he believed orgone could be used to treat sexual dysfunction by seating a patient in an Orgone Accumulator, which was basically a phone-booth-size wooden box lined with metal

People have tried building accumulators before and there are guides online to making them as well as a complete handbook.

The majority of Reich’s work has become viewed as a kind of pseudo-science, but I think there are ways for technology to legitimize, even for just a moment, things that people don’t believe.

I am unsure of if I will turn the box into an Orgone Accumulator, or if I will incorporate aspects of his theories into the piece.