I’m just back from the Piemonte Share Festival, one of the few events showcasing media art here in Italy. Pity I won’t be able to attend the conferences that will be running every day until Sunday as i’ll be visiting Artissima tomorrow (yeah!) and then i’m off to Graz for a jury.
The exhibition takes place at the Natural Science Museum, a seventeenth-century building which used to be the main hospital of the center of Turin. Although i like the museum a lot i must say that the atmosphere of the show was pretty gloomy. The exhibition rooms are below the ground and the lighting is spectacularly bad. Still, there’s some very good pieces that need to be seen. I found Ralf Baecker‘s Rechnender Raum (Calculating Space) particularly intriguing.
Seen from afar, Calculating Space looks like a sculpture made of toothpicks. It’s made of sticks, strings and little plumbs. This fragility and transparency give a physical presence as much as they hide the logic and functioning of the machine. Its units operate like a very basic artifical neural network.
Through its strict geometric and otherwise very filigree construction, the observer is able to track the whole processing logic from every viewpoint around the machine. This disclosure of the machines core is enforced by an uncommon distribution of its constructing elements: a nine angled architectural body forms a torus. In contrast to an ordinary alignment of a hidden logic and an outer user facing display its geometric basis is turned inside-out. The core of the machine, with all its computing elements, is shifted outwards on the surface, while the “display” which indicates the results of the tasks is displaced into the center of the system. Even though the tasks and their logic runs directly in front of the viewers eyes and even if one is long sinking into the interaction of the elements which is accompanied by a polyphonic but steady and reassuring buzz, it is not possible to follow the succession of the single conditions of the machine. (…) The results of the computations are sent inwards -into its own center- they are not intended for the viewer.
And of course i took a few pictures of the exhibtion.