Open Doors of Rumi (Thesis)

Interactive Multi Channel Video Installation



Open Doors is a multi-channel interactive video installation that is a modern day interpretation of the transcendental meditative Sema practice. The Sufi mystic Rumi and his Semazens (“whirling dervishes”) believe that each individual carries God within. Sema, as envisioned by the great philosopher and poet Rumi, is a worship of humanity that prohibits judging others’ beliefs or practices. Semazens whirl to be in service of the entirety of creation by spreading and representing its poetic energy.

In this aesthetic expression of Sema, the user is immersed in a foreign environment where s/he is exposed to Rumi’s philosophy. Six screens, positioned in a hexagonal arrangement, form a circle that encloses the viewer and mimics the Sema practice. Each screen loops experimental videos narrating the symbolic meaning of the Sema: getting rid of one’s ego, one’s sense of self and reuniting the spirit to divinity.

The interactive aspect of the project aims to narrate the larger metaphor in Rumi’s philosophy and practice. No individual or single piece is more or less important than the sum of the whole and also, nothing is more important or powerful than us, human beings. To illustrate this, the system works both for and against the user: as they attempt to focus on any one screen, they will instantly be denied that experience. The user will only ever be able to appreciate the installation when they can learn to appreciate all pieces together as one, and not experience it as a group of individual, discrete fragments of audio and video.

Exhibited at Parsons MFA Design + Technology Thesis Show ’11
05/08-05/20/11 2 W 13th Street, NY

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