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PhilipPocock Collaborative Documentary Datatecture 1980

PhilipPocock Collaborative Documentary Datatecture 1980

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Published by: Philip Pocock on Mar 04, 2009
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09/23/2012

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alan
:: scopic regimes of uncertainty
2008convergent media sculpture commission
alan
installation detail:
Garden Cam
Media:Moses Maimonides, “A Guide for the Perplexed” textMuhammad Ibn Tufail, “Alive, Son of Awake” textFederico García Lorca, “Songs” and “Book of Poems” bird-spotting scopes, monocular devices, webcamssculpted, working pc housings, advanced graphic boardstripods, ladder, stands, bronze, glass, silicon objectsspecially-abled person repaired and recycled ebay flatscreensorganic LED mini-screens and micro-controllersopen source linux, python, ffmgeg, php, mysql, javascript, xmlopen source fluxbox, computer vision, image recognitionopen source bluetooth, moblog, chatbot softwaresecond life lsl scriptingDescription:Alan
, is 'a land', 'off the land' – a desert island perhaps, and more precisely an abbreviationfor Al Andaluz, a rare historical convivial moment on the Iberian peninsula from the 8
th
to the 15
th
Century, when a gateway from enlightened and innovative Asia flooded Dark Age Europe, andcatalyzed its Renaissance. Al Andaluz saw an explosion of creativity in science, cartography,
 
technology, architecture, engineering, philosophy, mathematics and medicine. Andalusia thenoffered dozens of clinics where anesthesia and eye operations were practiced. Precisionastronomical devices, hydro-power mechanisms, and agro-business and exports flourished. Therewere even public washrooms for horses and street lights in Cordoba.Alan
is a participatory networked media sculpture installation, commissioned by theAndalusian BIACS Foundation for the Seville Biannual 2008-9. Philip Pocock (Canada) directed ateam of artists and cultural engineers, some still undergrad and grad students, from Germany,Switzerland, England and South Korea. Our starting point were three Andalusian philosophical andliterary figures and their texts. The first, “
 Alive, Son of Awake
” the original desert island tale,relating the life of a boy spontaneously born from the clay of a remote island shoreline, raised by adeer alone, who upon her death was autopsied by the boy for cause, who goes on in steps to developself-realization, a philosophical consciousness and enlightenment alone in a world. This first philosophical novel was penned in Arabic by the Andalusian Muslim scholar, Muhammad IbnTufail, and became a model text for the colonialist
 Robinson Crusoe
and the fabled animationsinvolving
Mogli
.
Muhammad 
, as this network media sculpture is called, calls on its stored text database andapplies computational linguistics to recombine with moderate grammatical correctness new phrasings and sentence constructions that retain his original voice but convolute his meaning poetically.
Muhammad 
simulates conversation over the alan
network with a second text sourcewith his Andalusian contemporary, the Jewish philosopher Moses Maimonides, cyber-dialoguing ina similar manner, drawing playful responses and offering sometimes surprisingly acute aphorismsfrom his stored seminal 11
th
Century text “
 A Guide for the Perplexed 
”, in which he presagesthoughts about globalization and identity, spheres of influence, individual and community rights andmores. The third literary and virtual leg upon which alan
is based, represents a ModernAndalusian, the musical, melancholic poet Federico García Lorca, his “
Songs
”, “
 Book of Poems
”,almost his entire opus of verse. Dwelling in his media PC sculpture representing a
 Bird House
, two bronze figurines,
Sitter 
and
 Pointer 
perched on its roof, that is also partially covered by a spider'sweb like silicon
Mandala
, a charming digital simulacrum of 
 Federico
's cut-up poetry interlocuteswith
Moses
and
Muhammad 
, as endlessly as time in art.
Moses
is housed in a sculptural PC housing suspended from a very tall rickety wooden
 Ladder 
, dotted with a blown glass
 Drip
and crushed
Globe
, that reflect on his text metaphor of thesphere as embodiment of power, just or unjust. Up high on
Moses
'
Ladder 
sculpture a collectibletelescope is clamped and aimed at one of a gaggle of used screens that skirt the
 Ladder 
's feet. Four more rather odd monocular devices and bird-spotting scopes, are also clamped to various rungs of the
 Ladder 
, each trained to a detail of a
Moses
main screen on which his generative dialogue comesand goes like subtitles, each line in its passing bringing with it a pastiche of contemporary cyber-Andalusian blogger imagery, displayed as digital video generated in real time and cut or edited byan abstract informatical process dependent on formal image properties such as pattern, i.e.mosaicality, or color, i.e. mood, and faces, i.e. expression. All but one scopic appendage to
Moses
does not track actual alan
installation guests but
 surveils screens
keeping a Cyclopian eye on themedia instead, that is, countless social web blogger and photo-sharing site images of cyber-Andalusia which fly over and by various screens with calculated rhythm, each image for a momentsearching for similar web2.0 images following a code-image editing principle of 
 pictures looking at  pictures,
to arrive at a new narrative implicit in alan
's algorithmic post-docu-drama cinema.
Moses
sports
Smile Cam
, which is a modified webcam that is trained with open sourcecomputer vision coded to identify smiles, and snap a shot of any installation guest who dares crack a smile, display that frozen image and feed it like all other scoped pictures into the code-image post-cinematic imaging system to accompany
Moses
philosophy-after-philosophy dialogue. The various
 
generative digital videos, called mash-up in web2.0 vernacular, are also deconstructed anddisplayed on a string of 16 micro-controlled, exquisite, high resolution mini organic light-emitting-diode OLED screens, that append
Moses
(as well as
 Federico
and
Muhammad 
). Over the Internet,this time line of crystal images are displayed on a similar string of OLED screens in Philip Pocock'sopen lab studio at the ZKM Center for Art and Media Technology, an alan
outpost.Both the
Muhammad 
and
 Federico
media sculptures intertwined into the alan
installationact on very similar principles to
Moses
. Their uniqueness lies in the voice and substance of their respective text that subtitle respectively their sculpture's main screen, as well as the different typesand sentiments of the images their simulated dialogue aggregate from the same cyber-Andalusian picture sources, all spied on by modified monoculars that mash-up in real time as well a myriad of generative cyber-docu-drama clips on their respective flatscreen and OLED screen appendages.Sculpturally, however,
Muhammad 
and
 Federico
are characteristically different ininstallation from
Moses' Ladder 
sculpture, yet complimentary, with
 Federico
's main
 Bird House
motif, and
Muhammad 
's Cyclopian animistic character and especially his auxiliary
Garden Cam
that involves a miniature silicon-dabbed tree sculpture and a readymade model fruit tree object.
Muhammad 
is an apparition of a strange robot-ocular beast, with a pair of its webcam-modifiedoptical screen surveyors supported by tripods that pierce in fact right through
Muhammad 
's doublePC housing body, one but a centimeter from its motherboard.
Garden Cam
is a sort of koan for theentire installation, its fine filigree-like tree the focus of a sculpted bird-spotting scope trained aswell on the miniature tree's background, a flatscreen that displays a digital detail of the tree in asetting that due to visual feedback and software-set screen swaying simulates some strange systemicweather conditions.In short, alan
is about informatic cinema, cyber-cinema, new natures for narrative thatreflect new and net-driven narrative for natures of many sorts, human and cyborg nature,s utteraland historical natures, etc., and any number of their tangential qualities. Alan
from a perspective of cynical reason is actively and playfully about
 surveilling screens
and not people, and
 pictureslooking at pictures
.Exhibited:BIACS3, Seville Bienale, Spain.http://roundearth.zkm.de/alandhttp://roundearth.zkm.de/aland_wp

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