Piksel Proposals Processor, Piksel18

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Prototyping The Universal Transformation Machine
John Bowers, Tim Shaw

##manager.scheduler.building##: Hulen
##manager.scheduler.room##: Main Room
Date: 24-11-2018 21:00 – 23:55
Last modified: 2018-11-02

Abstract


Prototyping The Universal Transformation Machine
John Bowers, Tim Shaw

The Universal Transformation Machine (UTM) is an imagined alchemical device that transforms one form of matter-energy into any other. Light energy into sound. Sound into physical movement. Physical movement into shortwave radiation. Radiation into magnetism. Magnetism into gravity. The UTM makes possible performances which create forms of synaesthetic experience as energies transform into one another and matter mutates. A subset of what The UTM is capable of will be human perceptible, other translations would only be perceptible by other earth-bound organisms, yet others would be available for alien synaesthesia. We take this fantasy image of a UTM that creates possibilities for terrestrial and extra-terrestrial synaesthetic performance as a design brief. In the weeks leading up to Piksel, and onsite, we will make many small prototypes of elements that could form part of a UTM. This will include low component count circuits for sound/light transformations, atmospheric sensors drawing on meteorological and paranormal research, open-source programmed data sonifications and visualisations guided by principles from alchemical, magickal and natural philosophical traditions, language translators which transform natural language text into Enochian, the language of the angels as revealed to John Dee and Edward Kelly, or decode radio signals of imagined alien provenance, small microprocessors programmed to compute according to generalised gematria, and so forth. Our performance at Piksel will work with an improvised assemblage of all the components we have developed and will take the form of a combined A/V performance and performative lecture. Prototyping The Universal Transformation Machine is, then, a process-work rather than a conventional performance or exhibition of something final and ready-made. It starts with a fantasy design brief which we respond to with multiple prototypes before bringing this process onsite at Piksel and improvising their assemblage in performance. We believe that this form of making and performance is especially appropriate for art-work with a commitment to open source technologies and practices. Performing at Piksel gives us the opportunity to explore these methods in an open source creative context while speaking speculatively to contemporary issues in data science.