My project pitch explores the themes of things being misleading and not appearing how they should be.

Artistic Inquiry: Can a machine invoke feelings of betrayal and shock in the observer? Can the machine, by performing its programmed actions, cause the observer to form an opinion about it?

With this proposal, I would be creating a garden that springs to life once the suitcase is opened, using rotating motors. The observer would get to enjoy the garden while they were viewing it, however as soon as they reached out their hand to interact with it, or shined a light (not sure which one I’d do yet), the part of the garden they were interacting with would shrivel and die. I was inspired by a particular scene in one of my favorite movies, Coraline, where the main character walks through a gorgeous garden but, upon looking at the garden through a special stone, sees that it is grey and gloomy, as if it has concealed its true nature (which it had in the movie).

I was also inspired by pop-up books and paper engineering, where once a book was opened, paper scenes would appear (like buildings or trees) from being flat.

In my design, a gate opens when the suitcase opens, and a garden unfolds. Ideally, I would have the garden unfold before the suitcase has completely opened, so that the user just sees a beautiful garden, and doesn’t suspect that there is anything amiss.

When the user either puts their hand in the vicinity of the garden to interact with it and really explore it (and they will be encouraged to by a sign above the suitcase), they would see the garden start to fall apart.

Below are some of the components I’m planning, as well as the mechanisms involved.

The purpose of the suitcase in this project would be to provide a set of confinements to this “perfect world”. An example is with the grass. Once it shrinks away upon being approached, it is no longer within the bounds of the world and is thus non existent.

Thus, the suitcase would evoke a mystical feel, as it is the bounds for this beautiful garden. This is why I would choose a suitcase that was wooden, and old looking, so it looked like it and the garden had been there forever and nothing had been wrong.