ralf baecker - Putting The Pieces Back Together Again

Putting The Pieces Back Together Again

Autonomous System - 2018
Video Documentation, 2018

“One of the most highly developed skills in contemporary Western civilization is dissection: the split-up of problems into their smallest possible components. We are good at it. So good, we often forget to put the pieces back together again.” — Alvin Toffler in the Foreword of Order out Chaos by Ilya Prigogine and Isabelle Stengers

The kinetic installation “Putting the Pieces Back Together Again” is a complex system with self-organizing and emergent behaviour, at the same time it is an artistic inquiry and meditation on contemporary scientific methodology. The installation investigates non-hierarchical communication and collective behaviour by implementing such a system physically through many electro-mechanical actors.

The Installation consists of 1250 stepper motors arranged in a two dimensional grid of two by two meters. Each motor is equipped with a pointer made from white acrylic glass. The radii of the pointers are chosen to intersect with the pointers of its neighbours. All motors are excited with the same alternating current that let them move initially in a random direction. Each actor is at the same time sensing its environment. In the event of a collision the pointers reverse their turning direction. This is achieved through a custom motor control circuit. Through the interplay of many entities a complex behaviour emerges on the surface of the installation. By manipulating the signals during runtime the system will form spontaneous pattern on its surface. It seems like they are negotiating it’s position with nearby actors. By this the system is showing behaviour of self-organization. The installation drifts through various activation levels during its run time by this it constantly evolves new formations and constellations (crystallization).

PTPBTA acts as an epistemological instrument to look at dynamics that emerge from non-hierarchical and collective organisations/systems which can be found in many areas and different scales like social systems, economics, climate system and biology.

PTPBTA Installation View - 2018,
PTPBRA - Screen, 2018
PTPBRA - Detail, 2018
PTPBRA - Side View, 2018
PTPBRA - Back, 2018
PTPBRA - Total, 2018
PTPBRA - Total, 2018
PTPBRA - Detail, 2018
PTPBRA - Motors, 2018
PTPBRA - Detail, 2018
Putting The Pieces Back Together Again, Kirchheim unter Teck, 2018
Time Lapse, 2018
black aluminium profiles, 1250 stepper motors, custom circuit boards (40x40cm), custom motor drivers, acrylic glass, power supplies, ethernet hub, raspberry pi, cables

Produced with support of the City of Kirchheim unter Teck, Verlag des Teckboten and Kulturregion Stuttgart (Curated by Benjamin Heidersberger).
Production Assistants: Mariana Schetini Basso, Irena Kukric and Antje Weller
Special Thanks to Katharina Sophia Hardt (Stadt Kirchheim unter Teck / Kultur Abteilung)


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2018 Putting the Pieces Back Together Again
Drehmoment / KulturRegion Stuttgart, Kircheim unter Teck / Stuttgart DE