Exposition: Thresholds of the Algorithmic

(Lydgalleriet, Bergen, June 2018)

In Bergen, we showed the first module completed, α, for the first time, so it was standing on its own and not in dialogue with a different module.

[hh] On Sunday we gave a presentation on Körper α, and I find that one way of introducing the project is to look at the history of its materials, the history of its concepts, and at the particular algorithms.

For the materials, I can point out at least these connections: The metal cage was a ready-made found by Nayarí Castillo for the project schwärmen+vernetzen where it had been used along with a number of other fish traps. What would happen if I isolated that object and reconfigured it? In schwärmen… I already used the small Dynavox speakers, and in order to obtain a reasonable frequency response, they were embedded in circles made of bees wax. Here I replicated that idea, but this time I wanted to experiment with ceramics. They in turn had a history with me dating back to spring 2009—on a visit to Venezuela, we were planning a sound installation for the gallery areal Periferico, using the trunks of cut branches of the trees in the site as shapes that would be reembedded as ceramics with transducers attached. The project was never implemented, but since then I was thinking about the use of ceramic discs. The red wires have an obvious precursor in Kalligraphie (2007), a version of which was also shown in the 2012 show Writing Machines.

For the concepts, a number of relevant cases can be found, although the connections are more interpretable. I think the notions of "memory" and "state" have been important in the compositions, and they could be found in Dissemination (2010) and Voice Trap (2012) as well. Another notion might be "organisation of space" which was important for Configuration (2015) and Grenzwerte (2015).

In algorithmic turns, the Growing Neural Gas of Fritzke and others had been used in the "cracks" procedure of the Mäanderungen project (creating a topology of images), in the text "A zero moves between one and eight" that appears in the schwärmen… catalogue (it was used to find visual text paths), and in the rendering of the video of Anemone Actiniaria's Verschränkte Systeme 146:219.

We had to change video screens in the last minute, and luckily BEK got us a small form factor Adafruit thing, but I couldn't get it to run on the Mac Mini Debian for its native resolution, so with mounting time pressure, a Raspberry Pi was introduced and the session had to be split and networked across two computers.

Working in Mellite on the ultra-sound gathering and neural gas building part of the installation.