Encapsulated (atmo)Spheres


This piece mediates on the control of atmospheres. Within one of the two enclosures a fundamental element is withheld. The difference in manipulation of each environment manifests in vertical oscillation. Each jar is placed in front of a digital recording of their previous movement. Movement can be observed with the naked eye, and also in terms of the digital traces a sensing technology determines when coupled with the encapsulating environment.

Rudimentary computer vision is employed as a sensing apparatus – the rate of respiration is transduced into transitions in pixel matrices. There exist instruments better suited to sensing the media of the worlds and the atmospheres they create. That noted, using a digital motion sensor provides a view of the worlds breathing in concert with one another, and in so doing captures their motion in data that may become recombinant with other worlds at potential future points in time. The apparatus (discerning lines of flight by the light difference left in a spheres wake) aspires to materially link with the mechanisms by which exoplanets in the distant cosmos are detected.



Personal Reflections

This piece is inspired by a science protocol that demonstrates cellular respiration in a lively way:

Relinquishing decision about the aesthetic qualities or tones of the work to a happy accident of visually pleasing machine vision was an interesting foil to the level of control and methodical work that was part of the process.
My ambition with the work was to take a procedure and mechanism inherent to the empirical process and explore its potential for art. Subsequent to discussions prompted by videos presented by Alan Smith I realised this could be surmised thusly: science in the laboratory environment (and in the experimental parameters) is about constraining parameters until something can be measured and an effect rendered reproducible. I realised that what I wished to express was to take an apparatus used to constrain possibilities and invert that function: to somehow use the micro spheres to open unto many as-yet-unimagined possibilities. For me the process of the work and its connection to biotechnologies unfolds into many concepts and theory which intrigue me. But I think from the start I was letting those connections overwhelm rather than inform the creation of the work.
Alan counselled me that my role, as an artist, was to cater to inverting the function of an empirical protocol. To do so it was necessary to work against my instinctive desire to explicate, and explain. The mentoring I received from Raila, Alan and mi_ga was very useful in doing this. There remained a tension between necessary captioning (as is evident in the accompanying text above) that aid in rendering an object less inscrutable and evocative description