ACM Creativity and Cognition SIGCHI

System Self Assembly: The Self in the City

Self in the City (2015) is the final physical manifestation of a one year process of situating myself at the center of an anthropological investigation of Glasgow’s landscape. The work was first shown at the ACM Creativity& Cognition 2015 conference, exploring the theme; Computers | Art | Data. The work builds upon research methods explored in System Assembly (2013) although the scope of the work is dramatically increased by studying the self over a year long period.The intention was to focus on my surroundings in new and different ways by creating a system for observing, and feeding back observed information. Thus creating a visual based analysis of my surroundings.

Part of the feedback process was to take a photograph from my exact location, at mid-day (or as close to as was possible) facing precisely north, drawing upon observer-as-participator research methodology. Historically, cameras have provided anthropologists with an invaluable tool to collect and present social reality differently. Photography therefore allows researchers to ask different questions, and represent findings in new ways.

One such representation used a Processing sketch (a self authored computer program) to statistically sample a series of equidistant points in each photograph. Colour (RGB) data was converted to XYZ data to form 3D vertex shapes. The vertex shapes have informed the fabrication of a physical system. Viewers are asked to interact with the work by looking beyond the medium of the piece, to reflect on the degree of performative agency that individuals have within their surroundings.

The intention of the work is to minimise the materiality of the piece, thus encouraging the apprehension and interrogation of the systems process. The form of the 365 pieces is flexible, suggesting the work can never be complete. Instead the work has states of iteration as viewers contribute to its continually changing arrangement.

I believe the artwork rejects materiality to explore a systems based process reflecting the performative agency we all have with our lived environments. Using myself as the point of departure encourages users to consider the work using 3 main points: The historical perspective, the contemporary discursive perspective and the contemporary practice perspective.

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright © Andrew Welsby 2014. All Rights Reserved