Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Paskian Arts Research

Link: Art and Research inspired by Gordon Pask

An eccentric, a genius.. he dismissed the digital computer as a kind of kinematic "magic lantern" (wikepedia)

Alternatives to the digital/Von-Neumann/Turing computability, Concurrence, Analogy, Intelligent Actors, Conversational Theory, Kinematics and Kinetics are some of the strands inherent in Paskian philosophy.

Pask was an artist, a performer, in 1956 he created the Musicolour keyboard, a VJ of his time, and exhibited "colloquy of mobiles" an interactive kinetic sculpture with a very Duchampian tone at the famous Cybernetic Serendipity exhibition, held at the ICA in 1968...

I sense that his ideas were perhaps a little ahead of his time, perhaps now as alternative computing paradigms tentatively emerge - quantum, biotechnic, analogic - so may Paskian philosophies find fertile ground.

Link: Paskian Environments...

Friday, July 07, 2006

ElectroChemica 002

The experiment illustrated below is a replication of one of the electrochemical sedimentation experiments, mentioned in a previous blog entry.
I chose to carry out the experiment on water colour paper, with the intention of capturing a residual trace of the process.. Two copper electrodes were used in a solution of Ferrous Sulphate, the centre (cathode) being connected to the negative terminal of the 20v power supply and the outer ring (anode) to the positive. The images below were taken over approximately 2 minute intervals.

The somewhat un-aesthetic visual residue

ElectroChemica 001

In June I began my experiments growing metal dentrites.
The first steps involved determining the appropriate positive and negative connections (anode vs cathode) the appropriate solutions (eg ferrous sulphate, copper sulphate) and which metals worked best from a selection of copper, aluminium and iron - referencing the original electrochemical glass experiment I made in 1997.

Test set up with variable power supply and 6 cells of all Fe, Cu, Al, + - combinations

one minute 20v

10 minutes, strongest reaction occuring between aluminium and copper (lower right), least reaction with aluminium as + anode (centre cells).

Underside of cells, dendrite growth can be seen between Al- Cu+ cell (top right)

Close up of Al- Cu+ cell

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The Return of the Analogue

In my recent Computation Thinking presentation, I suggested that the Analogue might be making a come back - well the signs are there and growing ;)...

Below are links I have found that suggest this to be the case.
There are some strong academic arguments to support this view and developments of real applications, its much more that a sentimental reminescence of the past - Moog Analogue Synthesisers, warm valves (sigh :)
[ and even these are making a comeback
NAMM 2006: Modular Analog Synthesizers Return! ]

1. Jonathan Mills - Extended Analogue Computer

"I've been working on analog computing since 1990 when I invented,and my students and I built, the first Lukasiewicz Logic Arrays.This is an image of the first VLSI LLA, which is still used as a comparison benchmark for other designs."

News May 2006:

Distributed Analog Supercomputer prototype to be built

Issue date: 23/05/2006

Professor Mills in front of his polymer computerProfessor Jonathan Mills of Indiana University (USA), one of the world's leading experts in analog computers, is to work at the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (CEMS), of the University of the West of England, to develop and build the world's first prototype of a Distributed Analog Supercomputer. The work will be carried out during Professor Mills nine month Leverhulme Trust Visiting Professorship at UWE. [more]

Ryan R. Varick: The HCI of Analog
(Capstone project)

I believe analog is form of natural computation, suited to the types of things that we, as humans, are good at. I further believe that we are so used to throwing hardware at a problem that we sometimes overlook alternative solutions. My research seeks to identify the role of analog computing in a digital-dominated world. [more]

2. Non-Classical Computing
A 'most-excellent' paper by Susan Stepney and colleagues:
Journeys in Non-Classical Computation

A Grand Challenge for Computing Research
"Classical computing is an extraordinary success story.
However, there is a growing appreciation that it encompasses an extremely small subset of all computational possibilities...Six classical paradigms to disbelieve before breakfast [more]

see also UK Computing Research Comittee website:
Grand Challenges for Computer Research

Friday, June 02, 2006

New Lab

I have just moved into my new experimental art research lab!! No longer the 6th floor of AT but now in Buccleuch place - a quirky eccentric space, perfect, with echoes of a past... I am planning on having open days, when I have some working experiments!

After giving a talk in the Computational thinking series, I discovered MUCH more about Gordon Pask, why he was interested in electrochemical processes, and more interesting links on growing metals. Silica Gardens have an interesting appeal (with some complex and not yet fully understood science) and Newton with his Alchemic Chymistry and "vegetative metals".

I also put forward the rather controversial idea that the digital may well be soon overtaken by the retro paradigm of the analogue - eg devices that can solve partial differential equations in real-time, cheaply!

Power point of talk "Art, Creativity, Innovation and Experimental Science: Alternative ways of thinking, challenging paradigms and pushing boundaries"

Thursday, January 19, 2006


The Potterrow building site as a venue for artistic interventions, collaborations with the ECA - possibilites range from peepholes into possible worlds, kinetica, histories revealed and refurbished, fictional projections ...
[more to come...]

Electrochemical Experimenta

A small grant from the Gulbenkian Foundation has enabled this project to be initiated.
Referencing Pask's Ear, the project seeks to explore the powers of electrochemistry over the digital - evolving and self-forming structures, systems that grow and respond to external stimulii, beautiful forms and alternative paradigms...