I actually found myself enjoying the work–untangling Lewitt’s instructions was fun, like solving a puzzle. I was lucky enough to have a ruler with me while working on this, so I found myself doing a lot of measuring to get precise halfway points. I initially set up a framework for myself by dividing the drawing space into equal quadrants, which made figuring out some of the points referenced a lot easier. I also threw the instructions into Photoshop and found myself hiding parts of the instructions I wasn’t working on and highlighting different smaller tasks within each instruction.
I really enjoyed this piece and would love to experience and construct more instruction-based work. It’s very much like programming an extremely advanced computer, intentionally leaving points of ambiguity or technical absurdity (the equidistant instruction comes to mind) seemed to produce delightful variations on each work as people worked to come up with ways to correct the original text.
Microtonal Wall by Tristan Perich is a massive installation at the MoMA that consists of 1,500 1-bit speakers, each tuned differently to create a giant soundscape that changes depending on the viewer’s distance. It’s elegant and minimal in execution, Microtonal Wall is an extension of a piece Perich has been working on for several years called Drift Multiply, another large polyphonic composition, and Machine Drawings, a drawing program that deals with the intersection of randomness and order. I love pieces that force the viewer to move around and engage with the work, which this does nicely.
Cloud Tweets is an installation piece created by David Bowen that maps a video feed of clouds to a virtual keyboard, which is used to type and post tweets. I was pleasantly surprised by this, the twitter is unexpectedly iterative, with certain sequences frequently occurring (e.g. “?><“). It’s an interesting take on a sensor-to-tweet Twitter feed, and makes for a delightful pun on “cloud computing”. David is also responsible for “Fly Tweets”, a similar piece where a group of flies trigger keyboard strokes via video, which is then collected and posted on their collective twitter account. I would’ve liked to have seen more variation from Fly Tweets–although novel without the context of the earlier piece, Cloud Tweets seems like a slightly different variation on his previous work.
Vertwalker, created by Berlin-based collective Sonice Development (initially designed by member Achim Meyer), is a robot with a marker attached to it that can move vertically along walls. The piece draws inspiration from compact autonomous robots like the Roomba, and emerging vertical cityscapes. The group has previously run two differenttrials with older prototypes. I love the idea of drawing robots, especially one that can draw directly onto walls, but I was disappointed that the drawing was determined by collision detection. I feel that this piece would’ve been more interesting and engaging had there been some sort of concrete image it was attempting to create, perhaps having a computer vision system communicate with the robot.
The Garter Hype Cycle acts as a map of where first word/last word pieces are probable–the Innovation Trigger technologies are often still too young and expensive to suitably fit into artist’s hands (quantum computing comes to mind). First word art begins to emerge as technologies begin to summit the Peak of Inflated Expectations as the technologies become more accessible and popularized outside of academia, whereas in order to artistically “kick” something out of the Trough of Disillusionment and onto the Slope of Enlightenment (and perhaps eventually into the Plateau of Productivity), one needs to create last word art. Creating last word work, redeeming technologies by pulling them from irrelevance back into the public’s interests (and eventually expectations), the is perhaps the allure of the Trough of Disillusionment to Schulze.
I would say my work is First Word in nature. As an artist my goal is to experiment and play with technologies available to me, not necessarily to create technology-defining work. The technologies I choose to work with, however, tend to be those that are falling off the Peak of Inflated Expectations, arguably because they tend to be more accessible to me, as a Midwestern teenager, than a quantum computer or a brain-computer interface.
0. The Critical Engineer considers Engineering to be the most transformative language of our time, shaping the way we move, communicate and think. It is the work of the Critical Engineer to study and exploit this language, exposing its influence.
The Critical Engineer understands that technology is pervasive and influences the way we interact with each other and ourselves. Therefore, the Engineer realizes that understanding how Engineering works is of utmost importance, because it allows them to manipulate the culture around them and demonstrate to others the amount of influence that it holds over us.
This tenet defines an artist’s intent in engaging their audience and forcing them to critically engage with the world around them, regardless of whether they work with technology or not. We realize that technology controls many people’s lives, and that its interconnectedness with so many different fields and things makes it a central target for commentary. The Facebook game Social Roulette gave Facebook users a 1 in 6 chance of deleting their accounts. Its intention was to force users to reflect on the extent and importance of their digital personas.
Electronic Countermeasures is a flock of drones that work together to create a pirate file-sharing network for users to locally connect to, providing radical infrastructure for local communities to anonymously share data with each other. I love that they act not only advocate for more connections with our local communities, but also as a performance piece, with the drones’ beautiful choreography and softly glowing LEDs. The project was created by Liam Young of Tomorrow’s Thoughts Today, along with a team of nine people, including a smaller project team and a trio of drone pilots. I’m reminded of the Dead Drops project, both of which point us towards a future where we’ll see more ad-hoc communal storage spaces, especially in light of government efforts like PRISM, compromising the data we share with larger, faceless corporations.
[Additional, excellent interview by TorrentFreak available here!]