2019 Enghien-les-Bains, France
Collaborator: Jeffrey Shaw
Software: Sinan Goo
In the Fall Again, Fall Better #2 installation, a group of computer-modelled human figures is presented on the screen and, when stepping on the pressure-sensitive floor mat, the viewer causes these people to fall and then stand up again.
Each of these synthetic human figures is constructed according to the physiology of a push puppet. A computational model of this toy is applied to the musculoskeletal physiology of the simulated human figures, causing a characteristic dis-jointed behaviour in their acts of falling and in the resultant disorder of their body and limbs. This algorithm also incorporates a random function that causes the figures to fall differently each time, so that each derangement of fallen bodies is singular and never repeats.
The installation's title contains a reference to Samuel Beckett's most famous and bleakly uplifting quote: "Ever Tried. Ever Failed. No Matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better." Failure and falling are synonyms in a language of anxiety that has always haunted the global consciousness. It is a discourse that travels from the metaphysics of the Fall and the mortality of all life forms, via history’s natural disasters and man-made calamities, to arrive at the Buster Keaton tragicomedy of our everyday mishaps. In this frame of mind, the installation is a monument to the fallen that takes the form of a risibly cruel theatre of continuous re-enactment. Here, each viewer is both witness to and inter-actor in a Beckettian striving for the betterment of the fall that can be rehearsed time and time again.
Fall Again, Fall Better #2 is distinct from Fall Again, Fall Better (2012) in that it uses a pressure sensitive floor matt, whereas the #1 user interface is a subway train handle.