This arcade style jumping game trains people for a coordinated total jump where every single living able-bodied human jumps and lands at the exact same time. Participants stand on floor mats with electronic sensors and prompted by a countdown on a monitor attempt to jump and land on zero. The extreme difficulty of accomplishing a Total Jump combined with the ease and fun of training for it invites the audience to bridge the gap between a postmodern pluralistic world and the necessity of global coordinated solutions to immense problems facing the human race. The game features the original song "Jump Up" by Gold Bikini. Could a world wide jump where every living able-bodied human jumps up and lands at exactly the same time unite humanity and transcend our divisions?
This project was created in response to a call from the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts Project Space for proposals of unrealizable projects. We were then invited to the juried exhibition A Wicked Problem. The next version presented at Lamont Gallery in Exeter, New Hampshire in 2016 further incentivized players to land on time by showing pictures of winners mid-jump. The installation is coming to Boston Cyberarts Gallery in May of 2016, stay tuned! Free download the original song by Gold Bikini available here.
Human culture is now the dominant force on our planet. Massive extinctions and climate destabilization, as well as global communication networks and mass movements all signal our cultural power's supersession of any natural force. This reality opens up unfathomable capacities for global change and forward motion powered by culture. However, huge swaths of people remain disempowered or cynical about such a utopic premise. In order to unite humanity and transcend our divisions we propose to coordinate a synchronized jump where every living able-bodied human jumps up at exactly the same time. This collective action will be orchestrated in close alliance with partnering NGOs from every single country. Geologists will be consulted to locate groups of jumpers along key tectonic fault lines in order to precipitate a drastic effect on the Earth. Engineers will provide ultra-precise nuclear-driven timers for each person. We will all leave this fragmented planet simultaneously and land together in a new world where collective power is real.
The totality of human beings on Earth constitutes more than 600 billion pounds of mass: this is roughly equal to the mass of all terrestrial ants as well. Ants are completely in sync with nature and haven't precipitated any drastic changes in the environment. Humans on the other hand have drastically altered nature to the point where the old conception of Nature—as something outside of Culture—is gone. We are living in a post-natural state where exterminations of entire species follow our whims. Despite this reality, large groups of people believe that there are fundamentally organic systems that govern and even determine our impact on our surroundings, such as the system of a "free" market which organically regulates success or failure based on certain natural merit. In truth, no market or system is disengaged from the ideologies that support them. Culture is so prevalent, it has become invisible: it is an ideology that has become as transparent as the air we breathe. Total Jump is an action that will give shape to this invisibility and bring culture into stark relief against everything else. Total Jump will figure the possibilities of a united culture against the background of a million splintered hopes and dreams like an illuminating torch burning against the ruins of the tower of Babel.
Will the Total Jump precipitate an Earthquake of biblical proportions? It is not likely because the Earth is much heavier than our bodies. If we carefully arrange ourselves along key fault-lines in the Earth's crust, and if we time our landing to be precisely synchronized, we might yet feel something. We will prove our massive impact on our planet and the non-humans around us in one rapturous instant. Any resulting losses will be worth us finally confronting ourselves.
Created in collaboration with Caitlin Foley.