From here to there is not visible from the very beginning

Installation #19 – 23 March 2018 | MARs Research Hub Gallery

Materials: body, data, computer, wood, gold leaf, agar, slime molds, ink on paper

This installation comprises data capture and visualisation developed in collaboration with Dr Jamie Forth from Goldsmiths Computing Department, funded by the Invention Creativity and Experience research theme of Goldsmiths University.

According to Euclidean geometry ‘the shortest distance between two points is a straight line’. That’s one of the first things we learn in math class. What if the shortest isn’t the most efficient? In this installation I set out to wonder and meander around this question.

A good friend Dr Aleksandr Drozd, is an AI researcher at Riken Labs in Tokyo. The title of the installation comes from a conversation we had. If “from here to there is not visible from the very beginning” (2018), the destination mus be unknown. So why is the linear logic associated with science, and measure still so pervasive? Imagine moving ‘forward’ in “a meander pattern, an exercise in finding the longest possible pathway between two spatially quite adjacent points.” (A. Gell, Art & Agency, 1998) What would happen to time?

Time is what’s at stake when considering goals of efficiency . Time became my research material, and I wanted to know: what do we know about free time? The time saved by technologies, and the great liberation from work that is AI’s promise.

Working with a group of Berlin-based freelancers, and using commercial biofeedback wearble tech, I wanted to see if measuring free time, might help us to find answers. In a dance studio, I invited them to respond to prepared choreographic tasks and experiments, and discuss responses.

In parallel, I investigated what slime molds (physarum polycephalum) do with time. Slime moulds are unicellular organisms, that are free-living or aggregate into small colonies, neither animal, plant or fungus, they don’t fit into any category, and they remain a mystery to scientists. But like non-human scientists, slime moulds can trace the most efficient distance between two points, and solve engineering dilemmas ‘more efficiently’ than their human counterparts.

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