An invited piece for the Italian online paper (FYIN paper).. In it, I discuss encounters I hosted between artists and scientists as part of Australia’s National Science Week. Dont worry.. it includes an English translation.
Last night I was wrestling with Reuben. He was trying
to pull me off the bed. All my energy; hand
position; centre of gravity was focused via the
complex feedback loops with the immediate environment to the
Staying-On-The-Bed Mode [SOTBM]
That was the form and associated parameters I was
occupying – at a certain moment the state
transitioned through various instability
bifurcation points / or a single critical
one being overcome and I
transitioned to a second state
the state of falling off the bed mode [FOTBM]..
feedback loops immediately shifted to landing
avoiding injury and not landing
(too hard) on Reuben.. although landing
A bit on him.. as he deserved that!
But these states that my single body
Occupied were two very different
Modes of behaviour to accommodate.
The transition from one to the other
was remarkable for how quickly I could occupy
that second state so fully. Like it was
Always there.. it just
Needed to be filled.
This thought is inspired by the work of Rene Thom and D’arcy Wentworth Thompson.. our understanding of evolution I think would have gone down a very different path had Darwin not been so dominant.. I think Stuart would agree?
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.
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.