Exploring machines ‘on the edge of consciousness’, the machine as magician, oracle, alien ethnographer.

“The Machine has made itself, quietly, unnoticed, in a back room...”. 

It tries to explore and understand the world in which it finds itself.  It tastes what it sees - an incoming webcam stream of piles of junk and rotting organic matter - salty, sweet, bitter, sour, umami, responding with changes in its ‘emotional’ state.

With an excess of stimulation, it overspills, attempting to express itself.  Based on books it has read (fiction, programming guides...), it creates sentences. Words jostle to be chosen from its lexicons.  The poetry shifts in tone and content as the in-coming video stream changes. 

This work, entitled Salty Bitter Sweet, made its debut at the Lumen Big Reveal / V&A Digital Futures at Hackney House in 2017, and was developed further for the MA/MFA show at Goldsmiths.  In the autumn it grew into a large-scale collaborative installation with artists Ana Oak and Teague Flannery, featuring a vast heap of decaying electronic waste, for the Virtuality Mortality project, with XAP and invited guest artists at Ugly Duck.

I’m currently developing the-machine-as-oracle, extending Salty Bitter Sweet with some work I did several years ago - a machine vision tealeaf reading system.