Objectivism, Ecology, Ecosystems, Cybernetics, Feedback loops, Californian Ideology, Systems Theory…etc…

Three great BBC documentary films by Adam Curtis which help to understand our unit’s agenda: From Ayn Rand and Buckminster Fuller and the birth of the Californian Ideology, Ecology, Eco-Systems, Systems Theory and Cybernetics to George Price, Richard Dawkins and the Selfish Gene, see how the concept of “network” and “nature” has evolved as an ideology through modern times.

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Diagram of the Grasslands Experiment by George Van Dyne, showing how nature is interlinked as a system.

All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace is a series of film about how humans have been colonized by the machines they have built. Although we don’t realize it, the way we see everything in the world today is through the eyes of the computers. It claims that computers have failed to liberate us and instead havedistorted and simplified our view of the world around us.

1. Love and Power. This is the story of the dream that rose up in the 1990s that computers could create a new kind of stable world. They would bring about a new kind global capitalism free of all risk and without the boom and bust of the past. They would also abolish political power and create a new kind of democracy through the Internet where millions of individuals would be connected as nodes in cybernetic systems – without hierarchy.

https://vimeo.com/38724174

2. The Use and Abuse of Vegetational Concepts. This is the story of how our modern scientific idea of nature, the self-regulating ecosystem, is actually a machine fantasy. It has little to do with the real complexity of nature. It is based on cybernetic ideas that were projected on to nature in the 1950s by ambitious scientists. A static machine theory of order that sees humans, and everything else on the planet, as components – cogs – in a system.

https://vimeo.com/73536828

3. The Monkey in the Machine and the Machine in the Monkey. This episode looks at why we humans find this machine vision so beguiling. The film argues it is because all political dreams of changing the world for the better seem to have failed – so we have retreated into machine-fantasies that say we have no control over our actions because they excuse our failure.

https://vimeo.com/73561591

Adam Curtis is a documentary film maker, whose work includes The Power of Nightmares,The Century of the SelfThe Mayfair SetPandora’s BoxThe Trap and The Living Dead.

 

Suncatcher

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The design of Suncatcher has derived from a flock of birds following the sun.

How birds fly together is a fascinating, beautiful phenomenon, which is still progressively being researched under the theory of ‘Swarm Intelligence’. This movement is self organising, so there is not leader or hierarchy within the group. Instead they work together to form one single formation. The properties that emerge can only be obtained by the system as a whole, not its individual parts.

This interaction reflects the ethics of Burning Man and how each year individual people from all over the world collaborate together to create a self supporting community. Consequently, Suncatcher’s theoretical and physical formation emphasises aspects of Burning Mans principles, such as, communal effort, participation and decommodification.

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Physically, Suncatcher will demonstrate the dynamic movement of birds, which will both be a radical contrast to the flat surface of the desert, whilst also complementing the mountains that surrounds the site.

As the spaces created are emerged from the path of the sun; they provide orientation and framed views for participants to enjoy their surroundings.

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Different shadows are produced from this skin throughout the day, depending on the position of the sun, representing a continuous movement of the birds formation.

The title Suncatcher refers to an ornamental object which ‘catches the light’ it can be thought of as the optical equivalent of a wind chime. As the design is developed around the suns location and the skin ‘glows’ when  light is shone on it, exposing its complex structure and beautiful shadows.final16 final17

Using CNC to make a scale model at 1:4

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