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Rechnender Raum / Calculating Space

Ralf Baecker
strings, beech wood, elastic band, aluminium parts,
custom electronics, servos, switches (2007)

The inverted machine - Rechnender Raum (Calculating Space) is a light-weight sculpture, constructed from sticks, strings and little plumbs. At the same time it is a full functional logic exact neural network. Through its strict geometric and otherwise very filigree construction, the observer is able to track the whole processing logic from every viewpoint around the machine. This disclosure of the machines core is enforced by an uncommon distribution of its constructing elements: a nine angled architectural body forms a torus. In contrast to an ordinary alignment of a hidden logic and an outer user facing display its geometric basis is turned inside-out. The core of the machine, with all its computing elements, is shifted outwards on the surface, while the "display" which indicates the results of the tasks is displaced into the center of the system. Even though the tasks and their logic runs directly in front of the viewers eyes and even if one is long sinking into the interaction of the elements which is accompanied by a polyphonic but steady and reassuring buzz, it is not possible to follow the succession of the single conditions of the machine.

On one hand by turning the machine inside-out its function is completly transparent, on the other hand a strict self-referentiality and ignorance to the viewer is realized. The machine turns away from the visitor and carries out its computations only for itself. Without depending on interaction or requesting it, it goes through its own states endlessly. The results of the computations are sent inwards -into its own center- they are not intended for the viewer. So an interesting paradox appears: while the machine opens up everything it closes it at the same time, as if it has a secret.

Ralf Baecker (1977) is an artist based in Bremen, Germany. After studies in computer science he attended the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne completing with a diploma in media arts in 2007. Since 2007 he teaches at the department for "Design of Medial Environments" at the Bauhaus University in Weimar (Germany). His works were shown in international exhibitons and institutions such as the Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe (ZKM). Baecker builds kinetic installations and sculptures which interlink symbolic and pysical spaces. His epistemological machines explore the imagination of digital processes.

Acknowledgements: Goethe-Institut Dublin

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