The concept of The Randomness Pump grew out of a provocative theory taught to me by Macarthur Fellow, experimental biologist and complexity theorist Stuart Kauffman. Kauffman’s idea of the adjacent possible is a kind of shadow state of possible futures, hovering on the edges of the present ready to emerge. Kauffman sees the universe as designed in such an open way that the possible emerges from the present and complexity grows out of the existing conditions as opportunities for new events to come into being. This process demonstrates a kind of agent-less creativity in the universe itself.
The Greek oracles, the Chinese authors of the I Ching, Carl Jung’s notion of synchronicity, novelist William Burroughs and composer John Cage all have used chance. Blind Chance plays a role in our perception of reality and the construction of meaning and in some say intuition about the future. On the cutting edge of science and technology, the adjacent possible points to the role of randomness and self-organization in the emergence of life, consciousness, the evolution of species and even culture evolution.
The RANDOMNESS PUMP is a double screen para-cinematic installation utilizing two large scrims floating in a great hall. There will be an entry foyer, a computer and an array of speakers design to create the maximum immersion into audio visual space. Outside of the installation and in the privacy behind a black curtain, a participant poses a question and then enters a the highly-charged space of the randomness installation (pictured above). A sloppy algorithm will “slice and dice” through the world wide web’s anthology of knowledge and find random texts and sounds and deliver to the participant a unique “response” against a collection of cinematic projections floating above them. As the viewer contemplates, the universe unfolds in this work. Are the images and text of the installation linked inextricably in some mysterious highly-ordered intelligence? This piece will introduce an unfolding of words and moving images, creating what Kurt Shritters and Robert Rauschenberg called a “combine” and I call a “collision” or a “randomness pump” that yield new opportunities and novel potential meanings as new unpredictable elements unfolding in the field of the adjacent possible.
The Randomenss Pump is projection mapped onto two curving parallel screens flanking one another and enveloping the viewer. They are set against the backdrop of highly reflective floor and force the audience to switch from one screen to the other, pushing the viewer into an active and challenging state of creative participation.