00:00. It enters the room and sees nothing. There is no light. We turn on the zero-gravity generator and observe It through hidden cameras with night vision. It levitates across the room, extending Its limbs but touching nothing. Then It starts rotating on Its spot, going up and down and full circle. Every attempt at grasping something to achieve friction fails to propel Itself in any direction, accelerating Its spinning instead. Heavy breathing due to low oxygen supply leads to a loss of consciousness.
Observed responses: rapid blinking, reaching out, kicking, surveying every direction (indeterminable space), shutting eyes, thrashing, choking.
Inferred emotions / feelings: wonder, confusion, fear, anxiety.
Projected questions: What?
12:00. We open miniscule cracks between the wall-to-wall mirror panels and turn on the lights in the outer-room space. Light penetrates the room through the cracks. It awakens; Its dilated pupils are momentarily blinded and contracted. An image of Itself hovering in white space reflects again and again on the infinity mirrors in decreasing sizes. It widens Its eyes and stretches Its mouth. We check the picture processed in Its visual cortex to ensure It sees eyes widen and mouths stretch in response. It reaches out a hand to a hand that reaches back, and starts rotating again.
It sprays liquid vomit on the spinning reflections, which oozes down the mirror panels. Tears float away from Its eyelids and pop on the mirrors. Eye contact with Its pale faces is achieved during nanoseconds of alignment in spinning. We diminish the oxygen levels and the light outside the room, which causes It to cough as Its reflections fade. This phase also ends in asphyxia.
Observed new responses: smiling, flinching, staring at reflection (cubic space), crying.
Inferred new emotions / feelings: surprise, excitement, curiosity, happiness, sympathy, empathy, nausea, worry, sadness, frustration, loss.
Projected questions: This is me? This is how I appear? Where do I begin, and where do I end?
07:30. We turn off the zero-gravity generator and turn on the lights, close the wall cracks and fill the room with water through cracks between the floor panels. When It starts floating on the water, we close the floor cracks.
08:00. It awakens while floating. We check the sound processed in Its auditory cortex to ensure It hears the soft burble of water and notices the tingling in Its ears. It opens Its eyes and sees clouds floating above Its head, which we assembled using pellets of dry ice. Gone are the endless reflections, replaced by wall panels of solid azure.
It looks down at Itself and touches Its body, tracing the skin on Its fingers and belly. It parts Its lips; a squirt of water enters Its mouth through a wall crack. We check Its insular cortex to ensure It feels the liquid pouring down Its throat and notices the chapping of Its lips.
We subside the squirt and open the floor cracks again. Water percolates up to Its mouth and forces It to swallow. It flails Its limbs and struggles to remain afloat, coughing and cringing from the burning in Its lungs, until It chances upon a movement that produces self-propulsion: swimming. But no matter how long It swims, the environment remains the same – clouds, water, and azure in-between. It stops moving and starts sinking. Then Its body propels itself upwards.
We suck water back into the floor cracks to bring an ebb. It floats again and stoops Its head to drink from the water. We open the ceiling cracks and drip water down into the room. The rain causes It to gaze upwards and open Its mouth. A raindrop hits Its eye, driving It to cover Its face with Its hands. We intensify the rain; thick drops beat down on Its body. It winces and flails Its limbs to protect Itself. Tears mix with the raindrops streaming down Its body, until we stop the rain and diminish the light, signalling Its body to fall asleep.
Observed new responses: upward and downward gaze (cylindrical space), touching, swallowing, swimming.
Inferred new emotions / feelings: anticipation, enthusiasm, amazement, relief, ease, hope, awe.
Projected questions: This is my body? Where am I? Why am I confined? What lies further away?
07:25. We push sand up through the floor cracks and suck water from one half of the floor to transform the seafloor into a beach. Its feet dabble in water that waves down the other half of the floor cracks. We turn on the lights.
07:55. It awakens and pushes Its arm against the sand to move and drink, but spits sand soon enough and washes Its mouth. We sprout weeds and reeds through the seafloor cracks; the plants touch Its cheeks. It finishes drinking and turns to rest on the sand.
We pop pebbles from the dry floor cracks. It pushes Its limbs together and crawls away from the pebbles with swelling palms, panting as the stones become sharper, leaving on them red marks. The conveyor belt of the floor panel It crawls on ensures It stays on the same spot while Its environment changes. We germinate vegetation by lowering the surrounding floor panels and lifting them back with rocks covered in moss, flowers and grass and bushes and trees, until It is surrounded by a forest.
It crawls toward grass. A fresh, musty scent is processed by Its primary olfactory cortex. It smells the grass and opens Its mouth to graze, Its stomach rumbling to the first bite of food. Then It crawls toward flowers and eats them as well.
After eating, It crawls toward a tree and touches it with Its hands, leaning on the trunk while trying to raise Its torso. It pants and grits Its teeth and Its skin grows clammy; stands up, sways, and takes a step, then trips and hits Its head on the ground. Based on the information processed by Its gustatory cortex, It tastes the metal of Its blood. It gets up and tries again.
Walking on the conveyor belt produces spatial transformation as we lower floor panels and lift them with new scenery, screening dynamic backgrounds of the forest on the wall panels. Thorns prickle Its feet; It starts to watch where It is going. We drop fruit from the ceiling cracks and surface seeds from the floor cracks, which It forages until muscles cease to contract. It rests in a cave, away from the heat generated by the light outside.
Observed new responses: locomotion, mastication, perspiration, tasting, roaming, sleuthing, planning for utilisation (shopping space, from hazard to provision).
Inferred new emotions / feelings: satisfaction, confidence, bravery, dependency, distress, disgust, exhaustion, fatigue.
Projected questions: Why do I depend on outer sources for my existence? Why do outer sources threaten my existence?
07:00. We open the roof of the room and let the sunrise bring in light.
07:30. Light penetrating the cave causes It to awaken. Exiting the cave causes Its dilated pupils to become momentarily blinded and contracted; It shades them with Its arms and looks away from the sun. Then It wanders, explores, and eats until Its muscles cease to contract.
After a nap It explores again, walking faster and faster in pursuit of the horizon. The conveyor belt keeps It in place while we update the imagery on the wall panels to ensure the horizon remains afar. It runs and runs until It collapses on the ground.
19:00. A decrease in temperature, which escalates as the sun sets, causes It to shiver. It gets up and walks around. The moon replaces the sun, It notices; stars glitter in the sky. We assemble clouds that shroud this glittering and generate lightning using electrodes and a wire. Thunder causes ringing in Its ears as the lightning ignites a tree on fire. We then subside the storm. It reaches out a hand to the fire and flinches, but sleeps nearby to bask in the warmth.
Observed new responses: focus on eyes and light, running, shivering.
Inferred new emotions / feelings: ineptitude, insignificance, humility.
Projected questions: What is time? Why do things change? What glitters in the sky?
07:25. We cover the roof of the room with glass panels and release birds into the outer-room space. It awakens to their chirps and shrieks, seeing for the first time things with mobility and responsiveness. A moment later It utters Its voice and notices the vibrations in Its throat. Stretching Its arms wide open, It jumps and falls on the ground, shaking the floor panels with every leap. We open a crack between the glass panels and drop faeces on Its hair. It reclines Its head and screams.
It walks away. We revert the room to a beach and release fish through the seafloor cracks: It swims alongside them but keeps resurfacing to breathe. A fish nibbles at Its feet. It catches it and strokes the scales, Its stomach rumbling to the salty smell. It bites the fish while it is still flailing and dives back to pacify Its stomach. Afterwards It lies on the beach, smiling and sunbathing though weary from the hunt. Its hypothalamus indicates greater satiation, compared to plants.
It reawakens from Its nap and chases toads, worms, insects, and squirrels, Its gustatory cortex processing new tastes. We release mosquitoes into the room that bite Its skin. Scratching distracts Its mind while hunting. Another lightning invites It to sit around the fire and use it to heat Its game. Its mouth waters to the smoky scent of roasting and It springs to Its feet, on the run for catching anything that moves. The rest of the day It spends hunting, each meal increasing the levels of dopamine in Its brain.
Observed new responses: phonation, predation, focus on hands (physical strength as beneficial, dynamic and changeable space).
Inferred new emotions / feelings: alienation, loneliness, inferiority, superiority, pride, admiration, envy, longing, ambition, anger, misery, disquiet.
Projected questions: Am I not alone? What other life forms exist? Are they meant to meet my needs?
07:25. It awakens and sees new animal species screened on the walls: from cows, sheep, donkeys, camels, and boars, to deer, horses, elephants, giraffes, and monkeys; animals bigger and heavier than It who not only forage for food, but also embrace each other and mate. It scours for stones and uses one to flake the other, creating a sharp tip. The friction of the stones produces heat and It grinds them again and again until fire is ignited.
Following a cooked meal, It wanders in search of more life forms and passes meteor ruins. We release Its own kind into the room, who are programmed to stare back at It. It reaches out to touch one of them and is touched in return. They embrace and mate. A competition for food ensues; It uses Its stone tip to kill Its kind and eat their flesh. This process repeats until It tastes the blood of everyone It meets.
Observed new responses: invention, attraction, reproduction, opposition.
Inferred new emotions / feelings: affection, shyness, diffidence, submission, guilt, shame, sorrow, compassion, enmity, contempt, offense.
Projected questions: How do new life forms come and go? Would it also happen to my species? Am I destined to serve another being?
07:20. It awakens to rapidly changing conditions, as we develop Its environment with every step It takes on the conveyor belt: from huts and buildings, straw and stone, to steel and skyscrapers. Each edifice crumbles on the wall panels – wood burns, glass shatters, concrete explodes – and makes way for more advanced architecture.
As It focuses on Its surroundings, we operate a nimble mechanical arm to replace the stone tip It holds to a club, axe, bow, sword, gun, needle, and remote control. Another mechanical arm we operate to dress It in animal skin, woven plants, fabrics, and a protective suit. Words are installed in Its mind using a neural implant; thoughts form. Brain waves indicate how It thinks of different ways to describe Its surroundings using different languages.
We convey a couch across the floor panels until it reaches Its legs. It takes a seat. Food is served without It hunting, shelter is provided without It building, entertainment is offered without It asking. It watches beings cry on a television, shootings on a computer, explosions on a mobile phone, and epidemics on a virtual reality headset, until activity of Its sympathetic nervous system decreases and It is numb to the images.
As It gets up from the couch, we change Its environment: It eats in a restaurant, exercises in a gym, recuperates in a hospital, talks in a phone booth, reads in a library, watches in a cinema, buys in a mall, and learns in a cyberspace. Eventually It goes to bed even though it is daytime and Its level of melatonin is low. It hesitates what to do next and declines any necessity or pleasure that is within reach, despite the wide selection. Time passes without It deciding.
When It turns off the lights before sleep, we close the roof of the room and screen on the ceiling panels a blackness that glitters with stars. We turn on the zero-gravity generator, which causes It to levitate, and lower the bed with its floor panels.
Earth fills the wall panels in front of It; It smiles and cries. Then Earth shrinks away as It flies through space, passing stars and planets, asteroids and nebulae, until a circle of solid black widens in front of It. We shift outer space across the walls so that It is now inside the circle and the glittering shrinks in front of It.
As It crosses the black hole, It forgets everything It has gone through: enjoying, inventing, killing, talking, walking, eating, smelling, drinking, touching, seeing, hearing, sleeping, and breathing. We erase words and disassemble concepts; brain waves indicate no thinking. We screen on the blackness a white dot that expands into a blinding light, and lower the ceiling and wall panels into the floor. It exits the room as a subject.
Observed new responses: focus on brain (space as a cognitive map).
Inferred new emotions / feelings: amusement, passion, pleasure, love, hatred, appreciation, disappointment, regret, stress, despair, gratification, lethargy, apathy, overwhelm, boredom, sloth, liveliness, emptiness.
Projected questions: How could the world be changed (to serve me)? What would I choose from the wide selection? Do I exist?