Ralf Baecker: The Conversation, 2006
250×250 cm, Solenoids, strings, custom electronics, cables, wood
“The Conversation” is an autonomous apparatus, consisting of one analogue and one digital part. These elements, which are almost inseparably tied together, simultaneously attempt to adapt to one another. As the process follows no linear program, it is not obvious which part is controlling which.
Even if Baecker describes the arrangement as a “Pataphysical Processing Environment” and declares it nonsense or else a machine without a purpose, we can nevertheless read it as a cybernetic diagram. Cybernetics employs the same method to describe both machines and living organisms as information processing (communicating) objects. In this, circular causal and feedback mechanisms play a crucial role. Through a feedback loop, the installation constantly supplies itself with the data on its deviation from “inner equilibrium.” The state of the apparatus, which in theoretical discussion is generally represented as a ‘black box’ and remains hidden, is visible in “The Conversation” as a relation of tension, so that we may view the machine talking to itself.
This text is taken from the NODE10 catalogue, written by Eno Henze and Marius Watz and edited by Valérie-Françoise Vogt. Please read the introductory curator text for an overview of the exhibition topic.