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Alexander Calder, 1898 – 1976

In kinetic art on 21 października 2008 at 11:55 pm

Dzisiejszy wpis chciałabym poświęcić jednemu z moich ulubionych artystów. Ostrzegam! Jest to materiał tylko dla ludzi o naprawdę stalowych nerwach – Desperadoł are ju redy?:) Alexander Calder – życie i twórczość.

Na zdjęciu Calder i I. Duncan

Calder zaczął od malarstwa abstrakcyjnego, jego twórczość ewoluowała poprzez rzeźbę przedstawiającą, ku rzeźbie abstrakcyjnej. Nie chcę się rozpisywać o biografii artysty, jednak warto wspomnieć, że znany jest przede wszystkim, jako twórca dwóch nowych nurtów w sztuce współczesnej. W pewnym momencie zaczął go interesować ruch oraz możliwość jego zastosowania w rzeźbie. Na fali tych zainteresowań zaczęły powstawać jego pierwsze prace, w których bardzo ważny był nie tylko ich aspekt rzeźbiarski, konstrukcyjny, ale również ruch. Duchamp zapytany przez Caldera o to, jak ten powinien określać swoje prace, odpowiedział – mobile (najprostsza ich definicja mówi, że nie mają żadnego istnienia poza ruchem, nie mają żadnego znaczenia, nie odsyłają do niczego poza sobą). Później artysta zaczął tworzyć gigantyczne rzeźby wystawiane w plenerze, jego zainteresowanie przeniosło się z problematyki ruchu na problematykę bryły. J. Arp zapytany przez Caldera o to, jak z kolei powinno określać się ten rodzaj jego prac, odpowiedział, że stabile. Tak powstały dwa nowe nurty w sztuce, proste, bułka z masłem. Zainteresowanych biografią Caldera odsyłam na przykład do strony Calder Foundation- http://calder.org/ – na której znajduje się wiele ciekawych informacji. Chciałabym zwrócić uwagę, tylko na jeden z aspektów jego twórczości.

Przygodę z Calderem należy zacząć od filmu Cyrk Alexandra Caldera (tutaj 2-częsciowa wersja jutiubowa), 19 minutowej miniaturki nakręconej przez Carlosa Vilardebó. Nie jest to być może twórczość najbardziej charakterystyczna dla Caldera, ale z pewnością urocza i warta tego, aby o niej pamiętać.

W połowie lat dwudziestych Calder zainteresował się cyrkiem ( tworzy rysunki dotyczące cyrku do nowojorskich gazet), około 1927 roku powstaje jego miniaturowy cyrk, któremu poświęcony jest ten film. Niezliczona ilość miniaturowych postaci drewnianych i drucianych (oraz kilka wyglądających na zrobione ze starej skarpetki – porównaj lew), dziesiątko metrów sznurka oraz niezliczona ilość gałganków, mikro-sprężynek, pokręteł, korbek, dźwigni, wyrzutni… i innych zadecydowała o popularności przedstawienia, jednak tym, co przede wszystkim przyciągało publiczność na każdy z pokazów, była niesamowita, ciepła i pełna charyzmy postać Caldera, który nie tylko poruszał postaciami, ale dzięki niezwykłej osobowości był spiritus movens przedstawienie. To, na co warto zwrócić uwagę, to język, jakim się posługuje, ni to angielski, ni to francuski. Aby zobaczyć występ cyrku w małym studiu Caldera raz po raz zbierała się śmietanka paryskiej awangardy, między innymi Miro i Mondrian. Każdy z pokazów trwał około dwóch godzin i składał się z dwudziestu lub więcej odsłon. Calder w roli mistrza areny i jego żona siedząca przy gramofonie, aby zmieniać podkład muzyczny kolejnych numerów cyrkowych.

Przez wiele lat cyrk urósł do gigantycznych rozmiarów, jednak podróżował z artystą pomiędzy Paryżem a Nowym Yorkiem, obecnie znajduje się w kolekcji Whitney Museum of Modern Art.

Oto kilka ciekawych linków. Przede wszystkim adres strony, na której film znajduje się w całości (niezawodne www.ubu.com ): http://www.ubuweb.com/film/calder.html;

jak również adres strony, na której znajdziecie wywiad przeprowadzony przez Charliego Rose’a, między innymi z wnukiem Caldera z okazji wielkiej retrospektywy jego prac w Waszyngtonie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QU-XzJ19XqI; film The Alexander Calder Mobile – East Wing of the National Gallery of Art będący dokumentacja z wystawy: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5552815781795311388.

Polecam! Cyrk ukradnie Wam serce!

Reklamy

wywiad z Siegfriedem Zielinskim

In archeologia mediów, bibliografia, wywiady on 6 października 2008 at 11:50 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ciekawy wywiad z S. Zielinskim, jednym z propagatorów archeologie mediów oraz autorem książki Deep Time of the Media wydanej przez MIT:

 

http://transition.turbulence.org/blog/2007/08/08/interview-with-siegfried-zielinski/

maszyna licząca

In historia komputerów on 5 października 2008 at 4:15 pm

 

 

Charles Babbage (1791 – 1871), angielski matematyk, astronom i mechanik. Poświecił całe swoje życie na opracowywanie tablic logarytmicznych, ale w pewnym momencie doszedł do wniosku, że to okropnie trudne zadanie a człowiek jest taki omylny:( Wtedy też postanowił wybudować maszynę liczącą, której stała się inspiracją dla twórców współczesnych komputerów. Maszyna doczekała się realizacji dopiero po latach dzięki wysiłkom D. Swade’a z Computer History Museum w Londynie. Poniżej kilka ciekawych linków. Ta maszyna to prawdziwe dzieło sztuki, jest taka elegancka! 

 

 

 

Myhrvold & Swade Discuss Babbage’s Difference Engine, maj 2008, linki z Computer History Museumhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1sEowi1Txc 

D. Swade, wykład zarejestrowany w marcu 1999 roku – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85QYy_GjxfY&feature=user 

  

i inne: 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBuJqUfO4-w

strona na temat Ch. Babbage’a – http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/Biographies/Babbage.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

wczesna animacja komputerowa

In computer animation, computer art on 5 października 2008 at 10:28 am

Poemfield , Satn Vanderbeek i Ken Knowltonem, 1966 r.

Wrzucam tutaj materiały na temat wczesnej animacji komputerowej, które dryfują po sieci.

Postaram się je dodawać sukcesywnie, na razie to, co znalazłam o Stanie Vanderbeeku ( ur. 1931), który jak większość filmowców eksperymentatorów, zanim zajął się filmem, studiował architekturę i zajmował się malarstwem, co widać szczególnie w jego wczesnych filmach. Był inicjatorem wielu projektów na pograniczu sztuki i technologii. W trakcie studiów zainteresował się robieniem filmów i podjął pracę w telewizji, co umożliwiło mu zrealizowanie pierwszego filmu What Who How (1957), który zdobył brązowy medal na Brussels World Fair Competition w 1958 roku. Twórczość Vanderbeeka oscylowała pomiędzy animacją, eksperymentalnym video, zdjęciami zrobionymi Polaroidem, architekturą oraz teatrem multimedialnym (jest autorem multimedialnego wyświetlacza Movie-Drome). Jednak od pewnego momentu artysta coraz bardziej zaczyna być kojarzony z grafiką i animacją komputerową i w latach 60’ zaczyna współpracę z takimi specjalistami od komputerów, jak choćby Ken Knowlton z New Jersey’s Bell Telephone Laboratories. Poniżej kilka jego filmów oraz animacji komputerowych.

A la mode, S. Vanderbeek

i jeszcze kilka adresów:

Science Friction – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUDAYjrrEqU&feature=PlayList&p=03BB467DF23B962B&index=3

Deathbreath cz. 1- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80Jf_p3lHxY&feature=PlayList&p=03BB467DF23B962B&index=4

Deathbreath cz. 2 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6jBB4f8g6s&feature=PlayList&p=03BB467DF23B962B&index=5

 

Achooo Mr. Kerrooschev http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tCT_4qo2JA&feature=PlayList&p=03BB467DF23B962B&index=6

Symetrics – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1si3JxfYuBA

Stan Vanderbeek, The Computer Generation part 1. (prezentuje tu między innymi jeden z peierwszych programów służących do animacji komputerowej Beflix, napisany przez Knowltona) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mg_DowyLuT8&eurl=

Stan Vanderbeek, The Computer Generation part 2.- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTrKWJe6CS4&feature=related

The Museum of Jurassic Technology, czyli prehistoria…

In prehistoria, wystawy on 5 października 2008 at 12:21 am

Ostatnio dzięki mojemu ulubionemu blogowi www.mediaarthistories.blogspot.com trafiłam na zupełnie zakręconą stronę – The Museum of Jurassic Technology, które znajduje się w Los Angeles. Jak głosi wstępna informacje umieszczona na ich stronie, jest to instytucja o charakterze edukacyjnym „dedicated to the advancement of knowledge and the public appreciation of the Lower Jurassic”.

Więcej informacji o muzeum na „we make money not art”:

http://www.we-make-money-not-art.com/archives/2008/08/the-museum-of-jurassic-technol.php

Natomiast strona muzeum znajduje się pod adresem: http://www.mjt.org/

Na stronie można zobaczyć stałe ekspozycje oraz wystawy czasowe, ale moim zdaniem najlepsza, szczególnie w kontekście archeologii, jest ta poświęcona A. Kircherowi (1602 – 1680), jednemu z najwybitniejszych umysłów (jak to brzmi!) XVII wieku ( obok wielu innych równie wielkich umysłów jak Leibniz, Newton, czy Kartezjusz). Kircher zajmował się wszystkim – od geografii, poprzez kompozycję, egiptologię i geologię do historii – ale przede wszystkim był wynalazcą i to nie byle jakim. Pozostawił po sobie setki planów, książek i rękopisów.

Jeśli kogoś zainteresuje Kircher to polecam również książkę Anthony Graftona pod tytułem „Magic and Technology in Early Modern Europe” http://www.sil.si.edu/silpublications/dibner-library-lectures/2002-Grafton/Grafton_2002.pdf

i jeszcze jedna jedna książka należąca do kategorii „dziwna lektura”, jeszcze tego nie czytałam, ale Zielinski powołuje się na to kilka razy pisząc o G. B. della Porcie:

http://www.questia.com/read/61521623?title=The%20Place%20of%20Magic%20in%20the%20Intellectual%20History%20of%20Europe

escaping the overcode

In cybernetyka on 4 października 2008 at 10:23 pm

Pod tym adresem znajduje się bardzo ciekawy wykład B. Holmes’a na temat cybernetyki i sztuki pod tytułem Escape to Overcode. Rzecz warta obejrzenia ze względu na dość szeroki kontekst społeczny i filozoficzny: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1167077802155984674

bibliografia dotycząca archeologii mediów

In bibliografia, Uncategorized on 4 października 2008 at 9:49 pm

S. Zielinski, Deep Time of New Media. Toward an Archeology of Hearing and Seeing by Technological Means, Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press 2002;  

Variantology 1. On Deep Time Relations of Arts, Sciences and Technologies, ed. by S. Zielinski, Köln: Walther König 2005;

Variantology 2. On Deep Time Relations of Arts, Sciences and Technologies, ed. by S. Zielinski, Köln: Walther König 2006)

jak również:

T. Druckery, Imaginary Futures,
<http://www.debalie.nl/artikel.jsp;jsessionid=6CDC085593FCB168D2B6E129C27F0957?articleid=10430> (12.07.2007)

E. Huchtamo, From Kaleidoscomaniac to Cybernerd. Towards an Archeology of New Media, <http://www.acmi.net.au/AIC/MEDIA_ARCHAEOLOGY.html> (10.05.2007)

B. Sterling, The Dead Media Project, <http://www.deadmedia.org/modest-proposal.html> (10.05.2007)

O. Grau, Virtual Art. From Illusion to Immersion, Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press 2003.

Edward Ihnatowicz

In book proposal, cybernetic sculpture, text on 4 października 2008 at 8:19 pm

senster1

Urodzony w Polsce Ihnatowicz, jako uchodźca wojenny znalazł się w Wielkiej Brytanii, gdzie rozpoczął studia w Ruskin School of Drawings and Fine Arts w Oxfordzie, jednak od samego początku zainteresowany był również elektroniką. Jeste autorem trzech rzeźb cybernetycznych: SAM’a z 1968, który był pokazywany w ramach wystawy Cybernetic Serendipity, Senstera pokazywanego w Evoluonie w Eindhoven od 1970 roku oraz rzeźby Bandit.

SAM – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8b52qpyV__g

Senster – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jDt5unArNk

Tutaj znajduje się adres jednego z miłośników twórczości Ihnatowicza – czyli Alexa Zivanovicza. Na jego stronie znajdują się zdjęcia, dokumentacja, artykuły i fragmenty książek: http://www.senster.com/ihnatowicz/index.htm

Tutaj wklejam fragment nienapisanej książki Ihnatowicza, który znajduje się na stronie Zivanovica:

 

from: http://www.senster.com/ihnatowicz/articles/artist_as_engineer.pdf



 PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS AN ENGINEER


Edward Ihnatowicz


[Book proposal. Unfinished and unpublished.
Date unknown: at least pre-1988. Found in his
papers]

ABSTRACT


The book deals with three major topics:
1. How an artist became involved in high technology
2. Why at present behaviour is more significant than appearance
3. Why physical motion is a precondition of perception



List of possible chapter headings and topics:


1. INTRODUCTION
• Background and reasons for writing the book.
2. SEARCH FOR CONVICTION
• Disillusionment with representational art and mistrust of the abstract.
• Search for the meaning of shapes.
• Functionalism – shapes dictated by function – as a safety net.
• Reconciliation with engineering.
3. ART AND TECHNOLOGY
• Search for motivation for mechanical functions.
• Speculations about ultimate technology.
• Science-fiction story and robots.
• Experiments with hydraulics and control of motion.
4. SAM
• Ideas into practice – first exhibit.
• Behaviour v. Appearance.
• Sound location as a motive for motion.
• Spectator participation closes the loop in autonomous behaviour.
• Movement as a method of communication.
5. THE LOBSTER AND CYBERNETICS
• Discovery of SAM-like shapes in nature.
• Lobsters have simple mechanisms and simple nervous systems.
• Mathematics of motion.
• Analogue computing
6. THE SENSTER
• The Big Break.
• Geodesic structure and constraints of power transmission.
• Computer control.
• Digital sound location.
• Radar.
• Machine as an animal.
7. ART AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
• Experiments with simple learning systems.
• Study of natural systems, tropisms and taxes.
• Data and Information.
8. THE f
• Nature of mechanical information.
• A simple lever system.
• A.I. research tool into an art exhibit.
• Mechanical shape determination.
• Concept of direction at a critical point in evolution.
9. CONSTRUCTION OF REALITY
• Robotics.
• Problems of internal representation of environment.
• Three-degrees-of-freedom arm and force resolving.
• Need for multi-disciplinary approach to robotics.
10. PERCEPTION
• Motion parameters as natural information storage.
• Skill as memory – thinking with muscles.
• Relevance of manipulation to the process of perception.
• Conclusions


Introduction
I am writing this book because of the strong desire to communicate a view of perception which I have arrived at through construction, actual and contemplated, of moving, cybernetic pieces of sculpture. Although I have followed an artistic approach, the results I believe to be valid also in the scientific sense, as well as of practical value in the fields of robotics and advanced automation. The method by
which I arrived at these results and the fact that I am not a scientist conspire
to make a rigorously scientific treatment of them difficult and would, perhaps, make it counter-productive. The approach I have chosen, therefore, is to describe the various stages I have gone through in my work and in my thinking, hoping that by the
end of the book the reader will understand my view of this very complex problem of perception, even if he does not agree with my conclusions.
The very severe limitation of the present-day robot is that it cannot be relied upon to deal with unforeseen changes in its environment even of the most trivial kind. This results from our lack of understanding of the nature of the process by which we, and other animals, inform ourselves about the state of the world outside of us.
Attempts at improving this situation are proving very expensive, limited and not
very informative as to the direction in which we are going. The problem is urgent and the solution not at all imminent.
My hope is that this book will make acceptable my argument which, in a nut-shell, is that in order for any system, natural or artificial, to be able to deduce anything at all about any object simply by looking at it, it must first be able, or must have been able in the past, to interact with it in some mechanical way. Moreover, only those aspects of the object which can be modified by such actions can ever be
successfully interpreted. This view has important implications in the field of
visual data processing, leading to the conclusion that the future thinking
machine will be a robot and not just a computer.
Synopsis
I shall begin in 1962 when I gave up a reasonably promising career in business (although without having put any money by) to live in an unconverted garage and return to art in which I began as a student in 1945 but subsequently abandoned.
Returning to it after such a long break made me extremely self-conscious
and inclined to question the motives behind and the validity of every artistic
decision. I was now nearly forty but my art has not matured with me and was
no better than that I had produced as a student where, in sculpture at least, I
was considered by my teachers promising. It was certainly much less convincing. I was encouraged to persevere, however, by the realisation that inwardly I had no faith in the type of art I was trying to produce nor, for that matter of any other being produced around me. My stuff was doffedly traditional and, dissatisfied
with it though I was, I resisted any temptation to join any of the trendy movements, hoping to find my own way.
I was, however, always interested in engineering, tinkering really, I was forever helping people with their cars and motorbikes, and so I arrived at a sort of compromise. I produced a number of pieces constructed out of parts of old motor cars and even sold a couple. They were not serious sculpture but I enjoyed making them
and it occurred to me that enjoying one’s work was important and that, perhaps, I should stop trying so hard to be an artist and just try to find some activity which would make me feel like jumping out of bed every morning to get on with it.
One thing I knew I would always enjoy was working with machines and so, in the end, I have developed a curious form of engineering in which calculation was replaced by intuition and concern for cost-effectiveness by enthusiasm. I tried to design simple
components as if they were parts of supersonic aircraft where every ounce of material mattered and cost was no object. The first result of this “conversion” was SAM or Sound Activated Mobile shown at the 1968 Cybernetic Serendipity exhibition at
the Institute of Contemporary Art and the first genuine piece of sculpture I
had produced. It consisted of a spinelike articulated structure surmounted
by an array of microphones and a flower-like arrangement of acoustic reflectors, which, powered by a hydraulic pump, turned towards anyone making a noise in its vicinity. The path by which I acquired sufficient knowledge to construct SAM
was rather tortuous. It began with the simultaneous realisation that the
shapes of the highly engineered components of the cars I was taking to
pieces were more satisfactory from the aesthetic point of view than my feeble
attempts at abstract sculpture, through having more conviction and an air purposefulness and suitability for the tasks for which they were intended; and also that those tasks invariably involved some form of physical motion or transmission of forces. Clearly one way of making my abstract pieces more convincing could be to invent imaginary functions for them and make sure that they looked capable of performing them. Better still would be actually to make them move but not in the repetitive way like Tinguely’s but in a natural, animal-like way. Movement has always held a great fascination for me and even in the little wax figurines I was making at the time I was attempting to convey if not of actual movement then certainly of potential actions. Clearly a possibility now existed of generating
such movements directly. During my vandalising of cars I dismantled and reconstructed a hydraulic braking system and was impressed with the power and precision with which it could be made to move quite heavy objects. This was obviously a very good way of producing very subtle and wellcontrolled motion and the oil could be delivered to any number of actuators through flexible piping, but to do this required an ability to control precisely the amount of oil being fed to a
hydraulic piston. Foot pedals clearly had to be replaced by a motorised pump and the flow controlled by valves. Some method of automatically controlling the valves was required and, even more importantly, an ability to define precisely the motion to be
produced.
My first attempts at making hydraulic pistons were quite disastrous and so I looked for ready-made small pistons. After a long search I found some at a hydraulic press
manufacturer’s who found some included accidentally with a government-surplus press he had bought. Included were some servovalves which I bought, although neither I nor the dealer knew what they were. In tracking down the function of these valves I made contact with the City University where I learned about the existence of a whole field of engineering science called control engineering, concerned with precisely
the sort of problems I was intending to tackle.
The servo-valve turned out to be an electro-hydraulic transducer in which the amount of current flowing through the electrical part of it, the socalled torque motor, determines very precisely the amount of oil that the valve will pass. It was clearly the perfect way of controlling the motion of a kinetic sculpture.
SAM I though of as a neck of a robot which defined sufficiently well the sort of movements it would be required to produce, but this still left me with arbitrary decision as to when and how it should produce these movements. The sound-seeking array of microphones solved that problem although not without some difficulties;
the phase-discriminating system finally used was given to me by a friend from Cambridge university, a co-exhibitor at the exhibition. SAM was reasonably successful, more through luck than design (I did not see it move under electronic
control until it was installed at the exhibition) but its movements were far too unpredictable and uncontrollable for their mechanism to be of use in the more elaborate sculptures I was hoping to produce. I returned to the control engineers. The mathematics used by these people were quite beyond me but I became fascinated by one piece of equipment used extensively in that field – the analogue computer. In
learning to use it I had to learn a bit about calculus, which was painful but worth while because I could now think of motion in a much more precise way. I bought an army-surplus oscilloscope, constructed a simple analogue computer and could the spot on the screen move in quite elegant ways. I learned how to make my own hydraulic
actuators and found out about the various methods of honing, grinding, hardening and sealing, eventually constructing a simple servo-system which would move a lever in strict accordance with the pattern displayed on the oscilloscope.
Although the various waveforms produced by the computer were pleasing, and the physical motion of the lever encouraging, I needed a more precise way of describing the motions to be produced in terms of velocities and accelerations and time
intervals. I also needed to understand better how we and other animals move and to this end I contacted some people working with powered prosthetics, having learned that they were analysing movements of human arms during the performance of various tasks. I was amazed to discover that the motion of a human elbow when performing a wellrehearsed movement from one point to another exhibited an almost constant
acceleration and deceleration, the sort of motion that I could simulate exactly on my analogue computer. I have also noticed that these people were using digital logic circuits to sequence and control their simulators. I felt it was time to learn more about digital processing.
Digital computing worried me because it seemed to require not only a much better knowledge of electronics than I possess, but also a knowledge of Boolean logic, Venn
diagrams and the like. I tackled this problem by first attending a course on fluidics, a vogue technology then, in which the various logic functions of AND, OR and such could be performed by deflecting jets of air in various ingenious devices. Not involving electronics they were easier to understand so that I felt able to
tackle the construction of their electronic counterparts when they appeared in Wireless World as parts of a home-computer project. I eventually constructed a small logic network which, together with a pair of digital-toanalogue converters, enabled my hydraulic lever to perform a great variety of movements.
I took great pride in the fact that the shapes which I finally produced for SAM’s neck did indeed look better than my previous sculptures and somewhat bone-like, though I had not tried to imitate any natural forms. I was intrigued, to say the least, therefore, to discover that an almost identical shape existed in nature in the joint of the claw of the lobster. It was not only the similarity of shape which was intriguing. Its operation also was like that of my joint: a simple pivoting action which I had never seem before in nature. Most animals, even those with stiff exo-skeletons have more complex joints which, like our shoulders, can rotate in everal planes at the same time. In the lobster all the joints are simple pivots but in spite of this apparent limitation and in spite of having only six of them in any leg, that leg can perform all the required motions with perfect ease.
I was constructing a model of such a leg, the better to understand its construction at the time, when a friend of mine introduced me to James Gardener, the designer, who was responsible for the permanent technological exhibition in Eindhoven
in Holland, which was a showpiece of Philips, the giant electrical firm. G, as he was generally known, introduced me to Philips and persuaded them to commission me to produce a large moving sculpture which he eventually christened The Senster. This was a huge undertaking which took me three years to complete but which enabled me to put many of the ideas I had been toying with into practice. It took the general form of(what else) a great lobster’s claw with the pincer replaced by a moving array
of microphones like SAM’s, except that the whole thing was now run by a digital computer, had proper industrial actuators and servo-valves and I had a professional engineer from Mullards to help with electronics. I had by that time established a
close relationship with a number of people in the Department of Mechanical Engineering of University College London where I went frequently for advice and for the last year of working on the Senster I moved there completely.
I spent about six months in Eindhoven, about half of that time sitting the exhibition hall programming the Senster and observing the interaction between it and the spectators, and I came to the conclusion that the shape and the general appearance of the structure were of very little significance compared to its behaviour, and especially to its ability to respond to the public. People seemed very willing to imbue it with some form of animallike intelligence and the general
atmosphere around it was very much like that in the zoo. Knowing just how little went on in fact inside that animal’s head, I felt like a fraud and resolved that any future monster of mine would be more genuinely intelligent. I was sufficiently naïve at the time to believe that my failure was simply that of not consulting the right people in the Artificial Intelligence fraternity about the correct programmes (I was
convinced there would be many such) to use in these circumstances.
Although I was delighted when on my return from Holland I was quite unexpectedly invited to join the staff of the Mechanical Engineering department as a research assistant, I was just a little disappointed that it could not have been the department of computer science. Now I feel lucky that I didn’t have that choice.
I soon discovered that those involved with A.I. concerned themselves with completely different problems, or at least that their methods, and especially the criteria
they applied, had very little relevance to my problems. I decided to do a little
research of my own. I felt that since the Senster seemed already almost intelligent I should be able to achieve at least some improvement even on my own and learn something about intelligence, as I understood it, in the process. In any case I had no money to construct any new sculptures and research seemed to be the right thing
to do in a university.
I assumed that the most obvious manifestation of intelligence would be an ability to learn, and tried to think of the simplest possible construction in which such an ability might possibly be demonstrated. I constructed a movable array of five photo-transistors, driven by a stepper-motor with which I attempted to track the motion of a small light attached to a moving arm. The light was moved by a free-running
electric motor and the photo-array was controlled by a digital computer. The central transistor charged a leakycapacitor-circuit so that the charge on it was a measure of how often the transistor pointed in the right direction and so constituted my criterion of success.
It took me a long time to realise that this was getting me nowhere. I was getting embroiled in mathematics which I had trouble understanding while the real understanding of intelligence was receding ever farther. I found that I was using terms like perception, information and knowledge, without really understanding how they could be related to an artificial device. I started reading books about animal behaviour, concentrating on the most primitive systems like lice and maggots, hoping
that their patterns of behaviour would also be simple, as indeed they proved to be. I have succeeded in writing computer simulations for several such simple mechanisms in which imaginary animals tried various techniques to reach a source of stimulus.
I have arrived at two conclusions: one, that mechanical movement was not only the common element in all such experiments but also the only means by which we could establish the presence of any would-be mental activity, and two, that while the
concept of intelligence remained as elusive as ever, the notion of perception seemed as important and perhaps more manageable.
Perception, like mechanical motion, must, of necessity, constitute a part of any form of behaviour and can be thought of as the mechanism by which the sensory data arriving from the eyes or ears or any other type of sensor is organised into a form suitable for producing an appropriate response. That response, in the simple systems I was looking at, was invariably some form of motion, so that the immediate problem seemed to be to discover a method of describing the two sets of phenomena: visual patterns, say, and physical movement, in such a way that their correspondence, which was a physical fact in the outside world, could be reflected inside the system.
I felt that I needed to understand more about the nature of mechanical information and decided to concentrate on that. An opportunity occurred when I was asked to help in the supervision of a very bright Chinese student doing his Ph.D. project who had no strong views on what sort of project he should do and was quite happy to have me
suggest one for him. I suggested a hydraulically-operated mechanical lever, equipped with pressure sensors and connected to anner discover
something about their mechanical characteristics. Being connected to a computer,
the arm was capable of operating in two modes: in the position mode it would move to a specified position with a prescribed velocity, largely without regard to any encountered resistance and in pressure mode it would exert a specified pressure against whatever object it encountered. If the specified pressure was zero it would become completely passive and compliant. At that time the Computer Art Society was staging an exhibition on the fringes of the Edinburgh Festival and asked me to contribute. The arm was all that I could show, so together with the student we turned it into an exhibit. The arm was made to operate in both position and pressure mode and people were invited to move it in any way they liked. When compliant,
the computer would store the movements the spectators made and then play them back in position mode. The different ways in which people reacted when the arm suddenly took over were analysed by a statistical programme which was capable of
distinguishing between sexes and of classifying people according to their temperament. The results were printed on a teleprinter and were surprisingly
accurate. We called it The Bandit, after the One-Arm-Bandits of Las Vegas, which it vaguely resembled, and I hoped that it succeeded in showing people how much very subtle information could be transmitted through such a simple gesture as moving a lever. The Bandit was, however, a little off the point as far as my main interest
was concerned. I was forming an idea that perception ought to relate to objects rather than events; that it ought to enable the system to distinguish between itself and the outside world. I felt that a very important distinction should be made between what could be called non-dimensional sensing, that is, aware ness of changes in some stimulus like pressure, noise or light which have a magnitude but no
direction; and the type of perception which could enable the system or animal to determine the shape, size, position or direction of motion of other objects as well as of itself. The Bandit, having only one actuator, could deal only with magnitudes and so another moveable segment was added to it, similarly instrumented and forming, in effect, an elbow.
The new device was reorientated so that the tip moved horizontally, parallel to the surface of a table which could be placed beneath it. I devised an experiment in which the arm could be made to run along a piece of metal placed on the table and the computer could record such runs and deduce the angle at which the piece had been
placed from the relative velocities of the two rotating joints. The point of interest here was that the arm was not given any positional information, merely a value of acceleration, and positional information was what came back to it.
Industrial Robotics seemed a field worth investigating by that time,
especially since I had been unsuccessful in trying to raise money from the Science Research Council and there was a lot of talk about the industrialists being prepared to back research in this field. Although I was convinced that the topics I was investigating should have great relevance to the tasks that the industrialists were planning to undertake I had no illusions about their willingness to support any work as speculative as mine. I therefore embarked on the construction of a practical industrial manipulator, hoping that, having made a start and having demonstrated its potential, I might find a backer to finance its further development. I incorporated in the design some features which I hoped would make it more suitable for operations where sensing of forces would be required. The task threatened to be rather mundane so I decided to use some of my sculptural techniques in the production of the components. This would not detract from their performance (it could, in fact, increase it) nor would it make them any more expensive to produce in quantity. On the other hand it made them more enjoyable to make and I also hoped that they might form the basis for another moving sculpture. I concentrated on the three endsegments
which would provide the twisting and rotating motion for whatever was to be fitted at the end, leaving the remaining large segments which would provide the reach till later, to be made by another technique, possibly fabricated from tubular steel.
With no backing forthcoming I redesigned the device to provide a limited reach which resulted in a threedegrees-of-freedom manipulator with a reasonable performance but few applications and therefore no prospects. By then one of my colleagues had joined me in this venture and we managed to offset the cost of the development of the device
by selling two of them to other research establishments.
The remainder of the book I propose to devote to the explanation of my current ideas about perception and putting forward the proposition that if thinking machines ever develop they will not be computers but robots.

Serdecznie polecam!

„Cybernetic Serendipity”, ICA, Londyn, 2 sierpnia – 30 października 1968

In computer art, wystawy on 4 października 2008 at 2:47 pm

 

Plakat by Franciszka Themerson, broni się po 40 latach jak nic:)

Pod tym adresem znajduje się wykład Jasi Reichardt, która była kuratorką wystawy:

http://radio.sztaki.hu/node/get.php/666pr588

oraz kolejne jej wystąpienie na temat Cybernetic Serendipity, tym razem w muzeum Tate Modern w Londynie, 30 wrześnie 2001 roku, http://www.tate.org.uk/onlineevents/archive/wnmwn/live_reichardt.htm

Tutaj natomias znajduje się link do formu, na którego łamach toczy się ożywiona dyskusja na temat wystawy (warto zajrzeć, wiele ciekawych wpisów):

Leonardo/OLATS, co-sponsor of YASMIN, is pleased to announce:

> Cybernetics Serendipity Redux

A moderated discussion on YASMIN
Beginning September 1, 2008

Discussion On YASMIN, led by Ranulph Glanville.
Moderators Ranulph Glanville, Paul Brown, Paul Pangaro

40 years ago, Jasia Reichart’s exhibition „Cybernetic Serendipity” showed that cybernetics, computing and art had arrived. 40 years later, while computers and art remain, cybernetics has nearly vanished, although there is a reviving interest in art.
In celebrating Cybernetic Serendipity we have the chance to re-open the debate, to reconsider the relationship particularly between cybernetics and art, and to do so taking into account the way that cybernetics has developed during its period of near invisibility. So what is new in cybernetics, and how can that inform art. And, what is new in art, and how can that inform cybernetics. This is a chance to reopen the connection, to explore again, and to move beyond some of the current models taken from cognitive science, computing, AI and AL, and complexity, to the (much more radical) field of their origin: cybernetics.
> List of Discussants:

Albert Mueller: albert.mueller ( @ ) univie.ac.at
Andreas Giannakoulopoulos: andreas ( @ ) utopia.gr
Andrew Brouse: abrouse ( @ ) gmail.com
Enrique Rivera: or.enrique ( @ ) gmail.com
Ian Clothier: I.Clothier ( @ ) witt.ac.nz
Jasia Reichart: jreichardt ( @ ) btopenworld.com
Julien Knebusch: jknebusch ( @ ) gmail.com
Mitchell Whitelaw: mitchell.whitelaw ( @ ) canberra.edu.au
Paul Brown: paul ( @ ) paul-brown.com
Paul Pangaro: pan ( @ ) pangaro.com
Ranulph Glanville: ranulph ( @ ) glanville.co.uk,
ranulph ( @ ) mac.com
Roger Malina: rmalina ( @ ) alum.mit.edu
Stephen Jones: sjones ( @ ) culture.com.au

YASMIN is a network of artists, scientists, engineers, theoreticians and institutions promoting communication and collaboration in art, science and technology around the Mediterranean. Everyone is welcome.
To subscribe, visit: http://www.media.uoa.gr/yasmin/

Tuatj znajduje się link do katalogu wystawy: http://www.cibercultura.org.br/videos/cybernetic%20serendipity.pdf, prawdziwy biały kruk (wśród katalogów).

archeologia by @

In Uncategorized on 4 października 2008 at 1:32 pm

Witam wszystkich serdecznie! Chciałabym aby ten blog poświęcony był archeologii mediów. Zatem nie ma on jakiegoś określonego tematu, teoretycznie może się tu znaleźć wszystko, ale przede wszystkim interesują mnie początki i heroiczni pionierzy sztuki nowych mediów. To są czasy, kiedy odpowiedź pytanie – Jak rysować za pomocą komputera? – naprawdę była wyzwaniem:)

Zatem postaram się sukcesywnie umieszczać tu linki do filmów, tekstów i grafiki, dotyczących tej tematyki. Zobaczę czy starczy mi cierpliwości, mam nadzieję.

Niedługo pierwsze wpisy.