Syncope (the medical term for "fainting" or "passing out") examines the feeling of "being disoriented" and puts it into the context of our modern everyday life: Again and again, we lose track of what is happening around us – and when we concentrate the most, we often find ourselves thinking about nothing at all.
This metaphorical temporary loss of consciousness has become a daily companion for many people in our fast-paced and complex society. Are we still able to focus in a world so full of stimuli? And how do we deal with ongoing as well as upcoming personal and societal challenges?
The series Syncope originated on a normal day in 2017 when I was preparing my breakfast. This morning, I caught myself breaking eggs very intuitively into the dustbin instead of the frying pan. And, more absurdly, I only took notice of it when I closed the dustbin, opened the fridge and tried to put the dustbin in it. Obviously – and luckily! – it didn't fit, but it struck me right away how concentrated I was thinking about something totally different and that I did not realize what I was doing right at that moment.
I cannot precisely say why I was so distracted this morning, but I guess nowadays, there is so much overstimulation everywhere that it just happens to us every now and then, and I don't just relate to people constantly staring at their smartphones and forgetting the world around them, but I notice it happening in many different settings and situations. Some time later, I visited the "Old Operating Theatre" in London (which is about the history of medicine and surgery), where I stumbled upon the word Syncope – which is the medical term for fainting or blacking out – and this happened to be the beginning of the series.