The Nemesis Machine in Italy

January 12, 2019 by stanza Leave a reply »

The Nemesis Machine at  CUBO Italy which opens on 31 st JAN. The show is curated by the awesome Marco Mancuso who for years has been supporting new media and technology arts from his base in Milan. The Nemesis Machine is one of those artworks where the only constant thing seems to be the title however I have used other titles so that is also a variable in this ever changing evolving art system.

The Nemesis Machine – From Metropolis to Megalopolis to Ecumenopolis

 

The title is in two parts: “The Nemesis Machine” with the additional  “From Metropolis to Megalopolis to Ecumenopolis”. The installation has become an evolving artwork. Whilst growing in physical size, the technology is also developing to reflect changes in our relationship with the digitised world, new technology and our algorithmic society.

 

The artwork focuses our attention on the worlds of technology, surveillance, and networked space:- that could be called panoptic and embeds several contextualised panoptic aesthetics (data from sensors, people from cameras). My title “From Metropolis to Megalopolis to Ecumenopolis” expresses this growth from a small city, to a large city, to the ecumenopolis which is a term for the whole world as a city. The inference is that this system of technology is all encompassing all seeing and all powerful.

The title “Nemesis” also suggests a portrayal of either utopian or dystopian futures inferring, “the inescapable agent of someone’s or something’s downfall”. As such the Nemesis itself is positioned to cause concern as a situation or event, which causes serious harm, or even as a form of punishment. The word Nemesis originally meant the distributor of fortune, neither good nor bad, simply in due proportion to each according to what was deserved. Nemesis was sometimes called “Adrasteia“, probably meaning “one from whom there is no escape”. This is how the artwork positions itself as neither one or the other, but simply to engage the viewer or its audience inside this inescapable agency.

The artwork has grown as a multi layered expression of technology based futures with metaphors of big data, privacy, liquid surveillance and control. It now also embeds as part of its evolution a continuous focus on the way we seek to control our space through any new technology. The project The Nemesis Machine actually started under my project title The Emergent City as practise based research and the data visualisation called Sensity. Therefore The Nemesis Machine has now been in development since 2006 and many various iterations have been made and released, which been exhibited in numerous ways with varying sizes.

The Nemesis Machine fuses analogue and digital worlds by using real time data feeds that connects to the physical city to create an avatar city while at the same time making it global through the flows of networked data across the internet. The city machine become alive and of itself. This parsing of real time data systems becomes a critique of liquid surveillance networks that a whole city can be seen all at once from a variety of perspective lenses. The machine is both acting to liberate us through technology with overtures to open processes, while at the same time making us complicit in its restrictive system of control.  We have by default become complicit in the global surveillance machine that appropriates us (the users) as units of data to be harvested for some sort of gain (either financial, social). This has been a consuming theme in several of my artworks since 2004. The Nemesis Machine focuses on the aspect of the so called smart city as a space for the parsing of (any /all) data. So how can you make meaning of this liquidity? and how can it be of any common benefit? Or will it be at the expense of something else? as perspective shifts ground.

A new custom version of the artwork is installed every time for this ever expanding an variable artwork.  During many set ups and global exhibitions, The Nemesis Machine serves as a frame or lens to witness this process.

Technically the installation also incorporates several technological systems including, a the custom made multi mesh network of environment sensors that send data in real time to the artwork. A camera based surveillance and facial tracking system with several hidden cameras inside the artwork. There is also another local layer of sensors; which includes systems for measuring by pollution gases no2, co2, o2, and alcohol. All this combines to create all the agency and action in the artwork. In other words the lights, motors, and sounds only happens because of events occurring in the real space. In this sense the city and the artwork are one and the whole artwork functions as an algorithmically coded city observing its real world double.

Advertisement

Comments are closed.