Materials: Wood, metal, acrylic, water, electronics, year: 2021

Siba Sahabi’s newest installation entitled Plato brings the famous allegory of the cave to life.
In his allegory Greek philosopher Plato divides our world into reality and delusions that pass for reality. He uses shadow images as a symbol for collective 'blind spots' that prevent us from seeing the truth.

Artist Sahabi explains: ‘The 2.500-years-old allegory has had a huge impact on our culture and is still relevant today. You can compare Plato’s shadow images with the virtual images of the 21st century and ask yourself: How big is the impact of virtual images on our values and norms? And how strongly is our identity shaped by these images?'

The interactive outdoor installation measures 2,6 meters in height and 2,2 meter in width. The artwork consists of an oval-shaped metal frame 3 meters in length. The frame is bent in a 90 degree angle towards the back side, where it holds a big white circle-shaped frame in an upright position. A transparent lens in the center of the white frame continually revolves around its axis at low speed. The lens is illuminated by a theatrical spotlight from the front side of the installation. The light that passes through the lens casts shadow images of the bypassing visitors on a screen positioned behind the installation.

‘The unique element of the installation is the lens,’ Sahabi explains. ‘It consists of 39 acrylic tubes, each 4 centimeters in diameter and filled with water, arranged next to each other like organ pipes. Depending on where the light travels through the water-filled tubes, the light waves are refracted and create morphing shadow images of the interacting visitors. This effect is just magical.’ 
A specially-commissioned soundscape by Machinefabriek/ Rutger Zuydervelt amplifies the surrealistic experience.
The installation invites the audience to experience the relationship between philosophy and art in a playful way.

concept and design: Siba Sahabi
co-producers: Siba Sahabi Foundation, Creative Coding Utrecht, Uncloud
location: Utrecht, the Netherlands
exhibition partners: Uncloud, Le Guess Who?
music on site: Machinefabriek / Rutger Zuydervelt
production: Brandwacht en Meijer
photography: MWA Hart Nibbrig
support & sponsoring: Creative Industries Fund NL, Fentener van Vlissingen Fonds, ESWA B.V., Baars & Bloemhoff

Plato was launched at the 'Voormalig Pieter Baan Centrum' (former forensic psychiatric institute). The exhibition Transliminal was part of the festivals 'Uncloud' and 'Le Guess Who? 2021’. 


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