Saturday, May 13, 2006


Today's reading comes from this website that I found through Rhizome. It has me turning all of the ideas discussed in the statement around in my head with a sense of resonance and recognition. The statement about the Grower reads as follows

Translator II: Grower is a small 'rover' vehicle which navigates around the periphery of a room. It hugs the room’s walls and responds to the carbon dioxide levels in the air by actually drawing varying heights of 'grass' on the walls in green ink. The Grower robot senses the carbon dioxide (CO2) level in the air via a small digital CO2 sensor. This sensor is mounted high on a wall of the exhibition space and sends data wirelessly to the robot. The number of people in an exhibit space breathing in oxygen and exhaling CO2 has an immediate effect on the sensor. My robot takes a reading of the CO2 level every few seconds and in response it draws a vertical line in green ink on the wall. The line height pertains directly to the level of CO2 (and therefore also the people traffic) in the space. The more CO2, the higher the line is drawn - the maximum height being 1ft. Once Grower completes a line, it moves forward several millimeters and repeats the process. By the end of an exhibition, the bases of all the walls in the space are covered with fine green lines which together resemble a cross-section of a field of grass.

That is a simple enough concept and I would imagine it is something that one can figure out how to build with a little bit of research, but what I find so fab. is the dynamic interaction between "viewer" and the "art." Here the artist has not created astatementt so much as enabled the audience to view an output of which they largely unaware. That mirror of humanity is, once again, what I think is defining this age of art.

The metaphoric relation is that grass needs CO2 in nature to grow. Here, my simulated grass needs the breath of human visitors in order to thrive. The height of the 'grass' directly reflects on the human activity or traffic in the space. The more people that visit that space, the more amenable that space is to my machine’s ability to create. The relationship between Translator II: Grower, the space, and the public becomes a cross-metabolic one. This piece makes visible how art institutions depend on their visitors to make them 'healthy' spaces for new art to evolve and flourish within.

While the relationship between the public and the installation is an interesting point to raise, I find myself questioning the premise of metaphorical grass that is dependent on humans. I think as humans we are way to full of ourselves and while we are creative and ingenious we are but one of millions of species and I am not so certain that we are the "brightest and the boldest." Rather I might argue that we are the most insecure of all animals on this planet and hence the elaboratfacadeses.

My machine’s grass growing is a dynamic, emergent behavior in which humans participate involuntarily.
This idea of dynamic and emergent behavior of the piece is what I think is so important. Exploring trelationshiphip between humans and other things is so important and interesting especially in light of the impending global crisis that we are facing, due to our consumption of fossil fuels, whimsical wars etc..

This behavior allows the Grower to ‘nest’ the space – meaning, make the space into one where you find evidence of natural, organic change. The drawings of grass may not be organic in a strict sense, but they may be read cognitively the way we read plants or gardens outside.

I think of it more as a pixeorganicoranic view. Theofck oof resolution is what makes the translation so important and more meaningful.
Is the grass thriving? Has there been much activity? Watching the artistic output of a machine that is so sensitive to its environment makes the people in the space more sensitive their environment and its conditions. The grower also provides a memory, through it’s drawings, of those conditions.

My research as an artist focuses on making explicit the interdependent relationships of human to machine as vital entity to vital entity. Grower offers a model where both machines and humans effect each other by their involuntary cooperation. It is a model where human and machine behavior interact in a mutually informative and dynamic manner.

As I said this is the type of art that is important and interesting and I am happy to see that other artists are engaged in this type of work. For me, it further reinforces the importance of what I have accomplished with snapshots, where the piece allows the listener to listen not only to the sounds, but also to listen to how the performelisteningteneing. I am only frustrated that I am not working on something iveinat vien at this moment, as the piece I am on is of an entireley different concept. I suppose I can use this as point of departure to get something new cooking.


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7/21/2006 07:17:00 AM  
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7/23/2006 04:08:00 AM  

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