(2015) is a paraboloid-shaped concrete disc, which rotates around its own axis at a speed of fifteen revolutions per minute. At ‘Art Basel Unlimited 2015’, Julius von Bismarck spent a week on the spinning concave cement platform. Every day, he sat at a desk, read, ate, lay in a bed, talked on the phone, carefully walked around – this, for hours, all while the fair whirled around him. In Egocentric System
, von Bismarck serves as the object of an experiment, testing the perceptual and psychological effects of a rotating system in which the force of gravitation is distorted by centrifugal force. The objects on the platform do not have fixed locations, but rather orbits in which they circle. Yet, von Bismarck’s body seems to be standing still, as the hub of a cosmos spinning around him. He is the centre.
“Rotation is a stationary, self-referential motion that causes the visual world to blur and fosters a concentration on the sensations of the body. In mystical traditions this is believed to engender the highest form of religious encounter, the immediacy of transcendental experience. Inspired by the repeated movement of dancing and twirling on the dance floors of crowded clubs, the rotating platform of von Bismarck’s Egocentric System
(2015) is a stage upon which he undergoes prolonged rotation in the public eye. Equipped with a table, chair, and bed, the platform is both a private room and a personal cosmos. Focusing on the platform allows von Bismarck to adapt to the spin. Looking out beyond into the buzzing halls of the international art fair audience causes dizziness and nausea. Communication is possible—most easily by smartphone. Eye contact is not. For von Bismarck, the world seems to be in motion while he is standing still—finally. Whether perceived as a metaphor for the self-absorption of the art scene, the dizzying rotations of the market, or the general nature of our encapsulated existence as increasingly mediated by the digital interface, the Egocentric System
provides a heightened experience of self, unfolding in the midst of the world.”
Text: Laura Schleussner, Egomotion, in ‘Julius von Bismarck – Animals are dumb and plants are even dumber’, p. 25