Stephen Stout is a magical artist who creates immersive illusions in space. Stout’s “Nothing Box” was installed at Make Hang in November 2011.
Stephen Stouts statement for the “Nothing Box”
“In Hellenic philosophy the concept of ekstasis means to “be or stand outside oneself”. An example the Greeks used was consciousness, which allows for altruistic “exterior” things like consideration and empathy. I find this idea beautiful because to be outside yourself is to experience oneness with the world.
This installation will lead you through a tunnel and into the heart of a sculpture made of mirrored boxes. Inside you are surrounded by an array of lights in a three dimensional grid with you at the center, and you will feel like you are floating in avoid. The lighting will dim inside the sculpture and brighten outside and your vision will pass through the sculpture into the surrounding space. Using stage lighting and hand drawn marks on the walls I have created a forced perspective that is visible from inside the sculpture only. When you exit the sculpture you will see a different space than what was visible from inside the sculpture. You may experience a shifting of space, a doubting of your own senses; a rift between what you have perceived and the rationalization of this perception. The piece is set up so that you will first act as participant who is witnessed and then witness to other participants. The sharing of the moment and the exchange of roles are both part of the intention of the work.
This piece invites you to lose yourself, and in so doing to find another.”
-Stephen Stout, 2011