Georgios Cherouvim‘s interactive installation, Debate, features a simple on-stage conversation between two suited figures. The scene isn’t too different from your average political debate or town hall meeting, save for two major exceptions: the figures have giant, flashing, geometric heads, and they only talk in R2-D2 style beeps and bloops.
Another difference between the Debate installation and an actual political debate are that the figures are actually plastic mannequins, animated by an Arduino micro-controller with a custom “conversation”-simulating program. Empty prisms, rectangular and triangular, respectively, serve as the debators’ heads, emitting strings of algorithmically simulated “conversation” based on parameters like how long one has been “listening” to the other, how recently there was any silence, and the last time it just flat out “ignored” the other speaker.
“The act never reaches a conclusion and it is performed in a non-deterministic way,” Cherouvim told The Creators Project. “Their language is incomprehensible, causing the viewer to lose interest in the conversation and politics all together.” In Cherouvim’s opinion, not much separates his programmable plastic sculptures from the civil servants they emulate, after all……
Read more. (And thanks for the blogtip goes to Christopher Smolinski!)
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