NORNS

Norns is an interactive installation based on the concept of the transformation that occurs on a timeline. Regarding the personal entropy one is not able to control or change the direction of the entropy. For example a warm fluid will only cool down over a period of time or a falling vase will break into shards but the shards will never form a whole vase again. Because of personal entropy we recall our past and not our future.

Within Norns I explored the idea of being able to influence the entropy by being able to alter the transformation over time. Norns does this by using ambient sound, passing it through custom written feedback cancellation software and sending it through the room the installation is in. The microphone picks up the sound again, which is slightly changed due to the accoustics of the room, and repeats this process until the original sound is no longer recognizable and a whole new sound is created. Which illustrates the transformation over time.

Because the whole set-up is based on interaction and mobility the transformation of the sound changes upon where the different carts are in time and space. Because the source of the sound changes in regard of the room the accoustics also differ therefor enabling the users to control, or influence, the sound. The big green button on the pushing handles gives the user control over the activation and through that control they contribute to the shaping of the new sound.

Very special thanks to Edwin van der Heide for guiding me in this challenging project and period of my life. ❤

Groningen Cultuurprijs / commission

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For the Groningen Cultuurprijs 2019 Davey Smand was approached to think of something as a goblet or plaque to give accompanying to the big cheque prize. Because it is so fundamentally Groningen, Smand thought the prize also had to be something typical Gronings.

In Groningen there is a long tradition of growing and processing sugar beets, so that aspect had to be incorporated into the prize. Something else that is typical Groningen is the Martini Tower in the city. The locals lovingly refer to it as d’Olde Grieze, which translates into the Old Grey One. Fun fact, the tower used to be higher but in a war with the Venetian pope centuries ago the original top got shot off with canons. In the end the Groningen people defeated the Venetian pope making them even more proud of their tower withstanding the canon fire, at least most of it.

The prize itself is the outline of a sugar beet cut in a laser cutter with a translucent photograph fitted inside.

Zwarte Zwanen

TATI009.jpgZwarte Zwanen, Black Swans, is the photographic interpretation of White Swans. It tells about the double layered nature of the landscape of Drenthe. Where once was a rich Saxo-Germanic culture now the only thing that remains is emptiness. Except for the ones that look for it. For the ones that seek that culture can still find remains of former holy places. Trees, ponds, en marshes on first sight only actors in a desolate landscape but when looked closer, when one can reconnect with the landscape you can find where the gods and elves once lived. Where the humans came to worship and where the deities whisper from the trees or gurgle from the marshes. Be careful that they don’t lure you into the darkness and get lost, for the ancient world is a place of deceit, passion and illusion.

The titles White Swanns and Black Swanns is based on the children’s rhyme:

White Swanns, Black Swanns
Who will go with me to England
The gate is closed and the key is broken
won’t we find a blacksmith that might repair the key.

In Anglo-Germanic culture the kingdom of the dead was in the west. Seen from the Netherlands, England is in the west, therefor it is a metaphor for the kingdom of the dead. The living cannot enter the kingdom of the dead which explains why the gates are closed, only a blacksmith can make or repair the key for the gates. In those times the blacksmith was often also a shaman, for he works with the enigmatic iron. And the shaman is the link between the land of the living and that of the dead.

BevingBeleving / commission

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A commisioned work for the Groninger Bodem Beweging, a party that solves earth quake related damage and other structural problems in Groningen, The Netherlands. The commission was an interactive installation that revolved around the mental health problems that occur with people that live for a longer period of time in earth quake territory.

One of the many problems is people having anxiety attacks, when described they have common grounds in having the feeling of being paralyzed, nightmares and walls closing in on them. This feeling of helplesness was tried to recreate in this installation. The visitor would get into a vacuumbed which would simulate the feeling of constriction and paralyzation. Then the visitor wears a VR-glasses with an interactive visual of a nightmarish bedroom.

The idea was not to recreate the earth quake itself, but the suspense leading up to it. The insecurity and fear.

Check out this item made by local news

 

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Witte Zwanen

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Witte Zwanen/White Swans

An interactive installation based upon the pre-Christian tradition of Drenthe, a province of The Netherlands. Whitin this Germanic-Saxon culture they believed that the gods were in the shape of formless energy instead of human form. Also they believed this energy lived inside trees. They performed rituals with sacred trees to come closer to their gods.

The installation is heavily influenced by the ideology of Renee Munnik who states: the more we rationalize the world around us through technology and science, the more we return to a world of mythic proportions. This through the fact that truths are unambiguously and there are reality contaminations through by example the shifting of the online and offline world.

Within White Swans the visitor is given an EEG-headband that measures brain activity and converts this into sound and video. The visual is projected upon a reflective surface that is being moved by a tree. Thereby the visitor and the tree make this magical experience.

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AffY

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“Someone who always has your back, unconditional love and support, does not get angry when you don’t have any time. Turns off the lights, plays your favorite music or shows and reminds you of everything you need. Sounds too good to be true? Not anymore, AffY is the cute and loveable sidekick you have always wanted. Geared up with an impressive AI, AffY is the non-judgmental companion for you, it’s great with humans but also with other another AffY. Get one and find out for yourself.”

AffY is a hugable caretaking robot that is especially designed to keep you company. With it’s silly sloth-like shape, furry outside and strong hands it will hug you and never leave you again.

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HEX01

HEX01

 

Hex is a small magazine that is published by Davey himself. It contains the broad line of thinking which he currently uses. Apart from that there is also a small catalogue of the most recent works.

To download -> HEX01

I/O

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I/O is my prestige project of the first half of 2018. It is based on WraithMachine by the Italian musician Datacode, it tells the story of an AI that gains consciousness by accident and it feels like it is trapped inside the machine.

I thought that was a really cool concept. Especially the fact that the AI gains consciousness by accident. Almost as a fragile being it is hurled into a world it doesn’t understand and feels very threatened by it.

My initial idea was to build a videowall that would tell the same story only rendered through my world of ideas. But that didn’t feel as if it to be adequate enough. I wanted to make a more immersive and personal work . I wanted people to interact with an AI on a personal level but that wouldn’t be plagued by clichés. The AI doesn’t really need a name or a body. I wanted to focus primarily on the interaction.

But of course, everything that has a ghost must have a body as well, if that body is carbon based or not, isn’t important. So, inspired by the WraithMachine and started thinking. What would an AI look like if it would be born by accident. It would not have a nice shiny robot body, it would pretty much be denied a body, be denied a face and voice as well. So, what then is the window we use to look into our machines. The screen.

For us, the computer screen is the visualisation of what is going on inside the machine. And I thought this would be the perfect body for my AI. An AI would most likely use the screen as well in it’s way of communicating with us. But then again, only visual feedback is pretty boring, and how will the human interact with it, by keyboard or mouse? That feels rather rudimentary, I am aiming for a personal connection almost a spiritual connection between man and machine.

So what is the spirit. Many debates are still going on if there even is such a thing as a spirit, a soul or a ghost; a consciousness. But most of us would concur that if we have such a thing, it would reside in the brain. Through EEG technology we are capable of measuring brain waves, through the data that is being extracted from this technology we can interact with our brains. It has proven possible to operate machines or make drawings directly with the input from our brain.

I figured, there is no more direct way to communicate with something than with our brains. No mouth or bodies that get in the way, just surfing the pure waves of our brains.

WinterMute

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The WinterMute project is about the idea of visualizing data or using it as the medium in the way that paint is used in a painting. This project was right up my alley, me being a technology nerd and very interested in big data. How algorithm’s are build up to mirror a personal profile. When is a program only a program and when starts it being something more than just data, when is there a ghost in the machine. I find these questions unmeasurably fascinating.

At the time of this project my grandmother was dying, and my father was having a really hard time coping with it. It was a very sad thing to see and I felt as if I had to do something for my father. To come up with a way or means that would ease his sadness.

So I decided to venture into the world of AI, artificial intelligence, and decided that making an AI of my grandmother would ease the sadness for my father. In that way he could still talk to her even when she died. Or maybe even better, this way she never had to die. Only physically.

With the presentation of my project I got many, many positive feedback. People that were actually touched in a personal way. It reminded them of their own grandparents of parents, the ambience of melancholy was very tangible. People started to reminisce and thanking me for this experience. I thought this was very nice feedback.

Ofcourse the AI was far from perfect. It still had many glitches for it being built in three days time, but even in such a small time frame it had the potential to evoke such strong emotions. This got me thinking and wondering why this wasn’t done more often?

While researching this question I found out there is this Polish company Replika. The company was born out of the desire to talk to a deceased loved one, just one more last time. Today Replika is a mobile device based AI that evolves the more you talk with it. So it doesn’t actually inject an existing person but you grow your own companion. Much like a sophisticated Tamagotchi.

I really like the idea of serious companies dealing with these subjects, it shows me that I am on the right path and that the questions I am dealing with are relevant to today’s society.

Want to try out WinterMute?

https://www.cleverscript.com/bots/chat/?#chat

Click on ‘select Bot’ and select Wintermute.

Username: Daveysmamd
Password: BIScm441WrYm