digital museum picture

The Fascination is a digital sculpture game, in miniature, that engages with our perception of control and belonging in a witnessed narrative.

Caroline Porter
Class: Thesis I - 2019-2020
Instructor:  Mitu Khandaker      Frank Lantz      Bennett Foddy    

The Fascination is comprised of projected digital animations and interactions with the sculpture itself through analog circuitry and motors. Both animations and circuitry are activated with proximity sensors as players look in different spaces of the sculpture. This gives the piece the feeling of a true space, but a scaled space – one that the player can see and comprehend in its entirety, but one that by its very nature, a player is not welcome in – they could never fit inside.

This project explores the concept of miniature space, as outlined in Steven Millhauser’s essay The Fascination of the Miniature. In this essay, he notes that the most compelling part of seeing a miniature is that the scale of the miniature, as opposed to the gigantic, is comforting. The miniature gives us a sense of control, that we can posses and see the truth all at once. It pulls us in with comfort but remind us inevitably that we do not belong in this safe world, for we are too big:

“The universe is too large for us. Death is too large for us. Death hums in every stone. The great walls soar, the windows are too high. But suddenly the walls descend, the windows are little spaces we kneel to peer through. […] The miniature, then, is an attempt to reproduce the universe in a graspable form. It represents a desire to possess the world more completely, to banish the unknown and the unseen. We are teased out of the world of terror and death, and under the enchantment of the miniature we are invited to become God.” – Steven Millhauser

Animations by Olivia Porter