Towards Entropy
Projection for Everything is Number at Site Gallery, Sheffield

still from Towards Entropy

When it comes to digital images, which are simply arrays of pixels, everything is indeed number. Any object or person whose image is captured on the computer becomes a series of digits. This is graphically illustrated by the wall sized pictures of the surface of Mars which NASA made from data from an early probe to the planet. The geographical features in gradations of orange and brown, are seen when you approach the picture, to be coloured squares (pixels) – closer inspection still reveals that the numbers which denote the colours are printed in the squares, which it seems have then been laboriously filled in with coloured crayons. The data from the camera has been translated into a series of numbers which have been printed out on a grid, a giant colouring in puzzle for the scientists. Nowadays of course the control of the colours of the pixels on our screens is determined and executed by the graphics card thousands of times a second, but the principles remain the same.
While the numbers may remain hidden from the end user, everything we see on our monitors is number.
‘Towards Entropy’ hints at the fragility of this system by presenting a series of iconic symbols, representing ‘life, the universe and everything’ - after a brief initial appearance in the middle of a black screen, a dot matrix pictogram rapidly fragments, each dot moving away from it’s starting position in a random direction, leaving in its wake an earlier generation of display device – the clicking electro-mechanical counter.
As they appear and change these counters emit clicks and clunks, which gradually diminish in frequency as the counters reach their mature, continually cycling state.
After a few minutes the screen consists mainly of shimmering counting digits, with the occasional click, eventually the screen goes blank, and the process is repeated with another pictogram.
The descent towards entropy, and mankind’s optimistic refusal to give in to it, is replayed in an endless, but always changing cycle.
still from Towards Entropy
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