Big Father

Steel, concrete, electromechanicals, medical hardware, ultrasonic sensors, audio and video.

5 units 7 ft high, plus attendant hardware. 1991-92

Over the past 20 years, an entirely new global system of digital communication has come into being, comprised of satellite relays, optical fibre and coaxial cables, and computer networks. This augments the already vast global radio traffic. This new phenomenon is referred to as the `datasphere'. Examined as an organism, the datasphere is colonial, in the sense that an ant colony or a marine sponge is colonial. Information is transmitted and recieved between millions of sensor and effector `nodes' via a distibuted `rhizomatic' network. Viewed in this way, any electronic information gathering device which is hooked into this system becomes a sense organ of it. These sense organs operate on a vast range of scales, from the galactic (outward looking satellites and ground based observatories), to the global (earth watching satellites), the local (video surveillance systems), the personal (medical imaging technologies) and the microscopic (scanning tunneling electron microscopes). One might even postulate an imagination or dreaming in the form of synthetic computer imagery.

The installation is an attempt to represent this system by simulating it. The visitor is confronted with five identical, large, vaguely anthropomorphic `stations' which breathe. Each station individually senses the visitor. The sensing triggers the transmission of audio and video material.

Big Father
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Big Father
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Big Father
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Big Father
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