Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Null Object

Last week I went to a private viewing of Null Object: Gustav Metzger thinks about nothing:

NULL OBJECT will exhibit the results of the collaboration between London Fieldworks (Bruce Gilchrist and Jo Joelson) and internationally celebrated artist Gustav Metzger to create a sculptural work by linking a computer-brain interface with industrial manufacturing technology.

Using bespoke software, London Fieldworks produced 3D shape information from EEG readings of Metzger’s brainwaves as he attempted to think about nothing. This data was translated into instructions for a manufacturing robot, which carved out the shapes from the interior of a block of stone to create a void space.

As well as the sculptural representation of Gustav Metzger thinking about nothing, exhibits will include a film of the carving of the stone as well as other documentation of the development and delivery of the work.

Conceptually, it sounded pretty interesting, although it clearly had the potential to be incredibly pretentious.

And sadly, so it turned out. The work itself was merely a jagged hole in two pieces of granite that had been cemented together to make a block. The much more interesting cast of what was removed was represented by a tiny 3-D printing of the removed space. The shape of this object was fascinating and intriguing, but only available in the smallest of models so you couldn't really analyse the consequences of thinking about nothing.

The accompanying video of the carving process and soundtrack of running water was disappointingly trite and uninformative.

There was no indication of the technology or methods used to interpret the brainwaves and no information on what the brainwave patterns produced or how they were represented. A classic example of an interesting and unusual idea generating more heat and smoke than light and really a rather disappointing experience. As an idea, it was so exciting, as an experience, it failed to deliver.


JJ said...

I'd ask for my fucking money back, but then, I wouldn't have been enough of a twat to have handed any over in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Actually he didn't pay any money - it was free but if he had handed over a small amount for the accompanying book then he would have got all the explanations and information he clearly found wanting from the show. mean-hearts mean times.