2012 Shanghai, China
Collaborator: Jeffrey Shaw, Sinan Goo
Software: Sinan Goo
Production: EPIDEMIC, Paris
Fall Again, Fall Better is an installation constituted by two elements: a projection screen or a large LCD monitor, displaying computer-generated content in anaglyphic red/green 3-D, and the user interface, which is a handle from an urban subway train (that should be the same type used in the trains of the city where the work is shown).
On the screen the viewer sees a group of computer-modeled human figures. When he or she pulls down the handle these figures fall. When the viewer releases the handle they rise up again. These human figures are modeled to mimic the physiology of a push puppet, the children’s string toy that falls down when the button beneath it is pushed to loosen its strings. Sinan Goo created a computational model of that toy and applied it to the musculoskeletal physiology of these simulated human figures. The algorithm also incorporates a random function that causes the figures to fall differently each time, so that whenever the handle is pulled the resultant composition of fallen bodies is always unique and never repeats itself.
The title of this installation references Samuel Beckett's bleakly uplifting pronouncement: “Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” Failure and falling are synonyms in a language of anxiety that haunts the global consciousness. It is a discourse that ranges from the metaphysics of the Fall and the mortality of all life forms, via history's natural and man-made calamities, arriving at the Buster Keaton tragicomedy of our everyday mishaps. In this sense the installation can be interpreted as a monument to the fallen that takes the form of a risibly cruel theatre of continuous re-enactment, where each viewer is an inter-actor and whereby a Beckettian betterment may be endlessly rehearsed.