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Decelerator Helmet

by Charlotte Hajer on December 27th, 02012

Our increasingly digital culture seems to be following Moore’s law of exponential acceleration – but sometimes you need to slow things down to understand them a little better.

To that end, German artist Lorenz Potthast has built what he calls a Decelerator Helmet. It is what it sounds like: a helmet that allows you to experience the world in slow motion. It’s an aluminum sphere that fits snugly over your head; your only visual connection to the outside world is a small camera, mounted to its exterior, that transmits live, but slow-motion video to an interior display.

Potthast explains that the helmet is meant to “decouple … personal perception from … natural timing:” it’s an experiment in engaging differently with our fast-paced world. Playing around with the flow of time, the artist suggests, exposes its important role in mediating the relationship between our inner experience and the outside world:

The decelerator gives the user the possibility to reflect about the flow of time in general, and about the relation between sensory perception, environment, and corporality in particular. Also, it dramatically visualize[s] how slowing down can potentially cause a loss of presen[ce].

For more information about this and other projects, visit Potthast’s (German-language) website here.

The Decelerator Helmet – A slow motion for Real Life from Lorenz Potthast on Vimeo.

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Alexander Rose - Twitter: @zander
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Alexander Rose - Twitter: @zander