observatories of the self by sara nuytemans reflect human existence
observatories of the self by sara nuytemans reflect human existence observatories of the self by sara nuytemans reflect human existence
apr 08, 2014

observatories of the self by sara nuytemans reflect human existence

observatories of the self by sara nuytemans reflect human existence
(above) observatory of the self 2.1. — a wearable reflective helmet
photo by jhoeko




belgian-born, indonesia-based artist sara nuytemans has created ‘observatories of the self’ — a series of spaces or constellations that immerse the viewer in a physical environment, which intend to reveal the various intricacies of everyday life through mirrors. the meditation spaces force the participant to become aware of their tangible existence, and to be reminded that the world they perceive is a product of their own creation. ‘we live in a world where financial, technological, social or any kind of achievement is considered more important than the conservation of nature. we are not so far from destroying the planet beyond return and in doing so, exterminating ourselves. I believe that if we are able to focus on our inner self and reflect on it as a dimension of the environment rather than an agent, we might find some solutions and will be capable of influencing our environment in a positive way.‘ explains nuytemans.


‘observatory of the self 2.1’ is a wearable device, formed like a solar system. the spectator is positioned at the center, which circular mirrors — or ‘planets and moons’ — rotate around, reflecting the wearer — or ‘sun’. it is made up of 11 reflective surfaces in a stainless construction with gears and an electric motor for mobility.

back view of ‘observatory of the self 2.1.’
photo by jhoeko

observatory of the self 2.1
video courtesy of sara nuytemans



‘observatory of the self 3.1’ is a 2.25 meter sphere constructed out of 1,680 reflective stainless steal squares, which the viewer enters, taking a seat on a small stool in the center. when the participant presses a button, the round plate starts rotating slowly, which reflects their image in the surrounding metal panels. the experience creates a kaleidoscopic view of the person within, making their presence all too evident as a part of their immediate surroundings.

observatory of the self 3.1. — an interactive reflective and kinetic space
photo courtesy of the biasa artspace

observatory of the self 3.1
photo courtesy of the biasa artspace



‘observatories of the self 4.1, 4.2, 4.3’ are kinetic mirror objects hanging on the wall. 25 round mirrors are attached to a wooden round base, which the observer stands in front of, looking at their own, broken-up reflection. the slow hypnotic rotating movement of the mirrors help to alter a more reflective state of mind for the viewer.

observatory of the self 4.1. —  an interactive reflective kinetic object
photo courtesy of the biasa artspace

observatory of the self 4.1.
photo courtesy of the biasa artspace



to experience ‘observatory of the self 5.1’, the observer has to lie down and face a 42cm diameter round wooden surface from which eighteen mirrors are hung. the surface rotates as the mirrors move in an up and down motion, coming towards the viewer and retreating in random. this slow hypnotic movement of the mirrors is also meant to help to induce a more contemplative state in the mind of the spectator.

observatory of the self 5.1 — an interactive reflective kinetic sofa
photo courtesy of the biasa artspace

observatory of the self 5.1
photo courtesy of the biasa artspace


observatory of the self 5.1
video courtesy of sara nuytemans



at first sight the ‘observatory of the self 6.1’ looks like a common full-length mirror. but, as the viewer approaches, the mirror begins vibrating, creating a blurred and fluttering reflection. this out-of-focus image of self is also meant to help bring the viewer to a more reflective state of mind.

observatory of the self 6.1. — an interactive vibrating mirror
photo courtesy of the biasa artspace


designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

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