by JC Gonzo
Sculpture artist and architect Walter Pichler’s 1967 vision into the future – “TV Helmet/Portable Living Room” and “Small Room” – envelopes the subject, immersing them in an inescapable, intimate media experience. These early, satirical and cautionary future “predictions” of living in a virtual world quite literally capture what it is to be connected and isolated at the same time. His gorgeously designed “Portable Living Room” renders its users victims to a claustrophobic space where technology and the desire for distraction collide. Pichler, a self-prescribed media critic, often played with this dynamic. His pieces hyper-stimulate visual and auditory senses while incapacitating one’s movement or awareness of their real-world surroundings.
Pichler was an architect at heart, and these works served as a response to collaborator Hans Hollein’s statement “everything is architecture.” Pichler died mid 2012 in his homeland, Austria, and had renounced the label of “artist” but continued to work for himself. You can read more about his fascinating body of work and interesting takes on aesthetics here (Deutsche Bank) and here (Critic Under the Influence).