Questioning surface and substance

SURFACE X questions the discrepancy between our self-created digital surface and the real-world substance underneath. By letting people experience the removal of the surface as they approach the interactive installation, SURFACE X draws attention to what is hidden and inspires reflection on one's own different identities.

In the digital world, we present ourselves in the best possible light—#nofilter, of course. In the hopes of being loved, employed, liked and followed, we carefully choose the best parts of our identity to display. By adding a photo filter here and highlighting a detail there, we constantly work on creating the perfect surface. Our digital identity is flawless and impressive.

Until… someone comes closer. When we actually meet our Tinder date face to face. Or go to that job interview we got invited to. SURFACE X captures the very moment when our digital and our physical identities collide and merge into the real us.

At this moment, it becomes impossible to keep the perfect surface intact. It cracks and folds and our true self is revealed.

Like our digital identity, SURFACE X appears large and impressive from a distance. The interactive installation is made up of 35 black umbrellas that form a single, spherical body 3.5 meters in diameter. The umbrellas represent an impenetrable shield, protecting the inside from unwanted looks.

However, once a person approaches SURFACE X, the umbrellas immediately shy away and close within milliseconds. It crumbles and shrinks and loses its polished look. Up close, one sees less surface but more of what lies behind, cables, sensors and a steel frame.

It is left to the approaching person to judge: Does it look ugly or broken? Or rather interesting, maybe even beautiful?


Artistic Concept
by Rebecca Gischel
With great support on the Technical Concept
by Franz Gischel


FARE – Guenther Fassbender GmbH for sponsoring 40 umbrellas FARE-iAuto, the only type of our many tested umbrellas which were durable enough for the mechanical stress of the installation
Marius Bungart and Johannes Holzmair for their support on physical calculation of the installation’s body
Sebastian Walter for 3D Printing and construction of installation’s parts

Also many thanks to
Rinke Brandner for texting
Oliver Koeppel for filming and suppport
Iara Rodriguez Vilardebó for cutting the video
Katja Brömer for photography

Also many thanks for the support on the film set to
Luise Gischel, Sebastian Walter, Johannes Holzmair, Alexandra Hummel, Marina Deniffel and Stephan Huber!