January 19, 2015

TABULA RASA: chapter 1 : Taiwan in 2100

Here is a text written for an aquatic VR project in development, produced by the Pyaré Studio.

Tabula rasa is a Latin phrase often translated as “clean state” which refers to a theory that individuals are born without built-in mental content and that therefore all knowledge comes from experience or perception.

Seeing the same real outdoors as the 3D ones will have a profound impact on the visitors. This is meant to create a path of persuasion where the visitor slowly dive into virtuality, taking into the account that the experience starts as soon as he buys the ticket.

TABULA RASA: chapter 1 : Taiwan in 2100 is a metaphor for our attitude to bottle up denial, until they burst out and create uncontrolled reactions. This poetic catastrophe experience is to trigger a personal reaction to climate change. Through a radical visualisation the visitor is meant to witness the devastating impact of familiar space due to collective human negligence. The familiarity within the urban space is confronted with the damaging future catastrophe.

For Persian philosopher Ibn Sina (Avicenna in English) “the human intellect at birth resembled a tabula rasa, a pure potentially that is actualized through empirical familiarity with objects in this world from which one abstracts universal concepts. In other words, the purpose of this aquatic VR experience is to make people aware about climate change through sensations and experiences? 

In the story of the Flood, one is that of the planting culture, the old-city mythology of cyclic karma – of the ages of gold, silver, bronze, iron, during which the world’s moral condition deteriorated. The Flood then came and wiped it out to bring about a fresh start. India abounds in stories of this kind, for the flood is a basic story associated with this cyclic experience through what we might term a year of years. 

Beyond perceiving climate change as a climatic apocalypse, are we going through the end of a cycle ? When does the next begin ? 

According to Wang Chung-ho (汪中和), a scientist at Academia Sinica, if sea levels keep rising, part of Taiwan’s low-lying western region could be submerged.

In all cases, however, rising sea levels are increasing coastal flood risk. High-tide flooding is already a serious problem in many coastal communities, and it is only expected to get much worse in the future with continued rising seas.

These changes will have powerful effects on coastal ecosystems that many Taiwanese depend on for incomes and leisure.