Notes from EVOLVER exhibition:
The ancient greeks measured the regularity of the solar system with precision and sophistication.. building devices like the recently discovered anthykithera machine.. I am more interested in the irregularities that are hidden and transmitted by the regular behaviour. That is where the beauty hides.. that is what becomes us.
I see the universe as an unfolding dynamical system. Complex structures emerge from simple underlying repetitive processes. In more complex systems like what we see in biological evolution this iterative process accommodates irregularities (thus all the variation we see around us)… and the selection process through its feedback with the environment displays what seems like learning / improving / ADAPTATION. I, want to get at these irregularities, the chaos, the uncertainty – that is where our beauty and difference come from
I make machines that recapitulate that..and have drawings emerge through the manipulation of simple mechanical phenomenon that attempt to reveal the inner workings of the complex universe.
Evolver is a 3 turntable system which generates through a simple repetitive process a mathematically definable structure. The system is coupled to a pendulum with irregular springs that then produce a chaotic drawing
These drawings are the products of attaching a pen to the irregular pendulum.. variation is achieved by shifting around some of the wires involved which subtly changes the motion of the pendulum. The results describe the chaos carried by the the interaction of the regular wheels with the irregular pendulum.
The irregular pendula, when uncouple from the machine and used as a drawing implement by me behaves chaotically, but is adaptive in the same way that evolution is adaptive. There is learning (feedback between what i want to see happen and what my hand then does to manipulate drawing apparatus. However due to the chaotic nature of the pendulum the chaos can be to some extent controlled but by no means eliminated.
Drawing out the forms in the chaos:
In the biblical mythology.. on the 5th day of creation.. fish and birds were created.. the mechanical piece.. Fish Bird Longing.. asks what the underlying architecture must be to allow things in our universe to separate from each other? can they return?
Had a brilliant experience at the science gallery (Melbourne 2018) as part of a workshop at the Perfection exhibition showing The EVOLVER Machine. This machine, shows that any seemingly perfect (i.e. mathematically coherent system0 can reveal chaos depending on how it interacts with its environment.
In 2008 when I first painted my studio.. I am seated… hands holding the chair.. and there is some apparition.. with my coffee cup – no less.. holding the brush – the one with the power I presume.. I am sitting before a blank canvas.. almost mocked by the fish in the mirror (a fish self portrait?) who is painting the same scene.. that this painting is of.. the room is quite bare / bleak? The orange couch.. sliding off the bottom left off the painting.. saves it.. but.. it’s sliding off…
2018 I painted my studio again.. it became apparent to me at the end of the painting that it was a painting of the studio… this painting was never going to be figurative.. it was going to be how building blocks inevitably migrate / transform into symbols.. by the energetics / motion in the universe… mediated by the action of birds.. and fishy bird interactions. But I painted my chair… sparely.. into the painting.. like a symbol.. a symbol teetering at the edge of the real.. made of bones… and then Arlene showed me paintings of Kitaj… and they provoked me to find a figure in my painting.. so I did.. and of course the figure was me.. no longer sitting but at the interface of flying and falling.. recognizing that when I have the power it is precarious and must be on that edge.
Motion is responsible for all of our properties. Much of the work I do as an artist is to ask how our different properties can emerge. Why do we experience the property of longing? Things can touch but often miss. In this machine- Fish Bird Longing .. the fish and bird dance and have different motions from the same base motor.. and when I look at it.. I am led to wonder what the underlying architecture – that we cannot see – must be like to allow events to happen… or not.
These are the accompanying notes for my machine ‘to reach for longing’.. Its about the idea that time is intimately tied in with motion.. to transition from one moment to the next requires a spatial extension.. and deep in that.. is the architecture.. our need to L.O.N.G.. to extend beyond ourselves..
diagram of left hand side of machine
diagram of right hand side of machine