[ISEA2015] Artist Statement: Steve Daniels – DEVICE FOR THE ELIMINATION OF WONDER

Artist Statement

Steel, aluminum, brass, motors, electronics, pen and paper. (2012 – 2015)

Device for the Elimination of Wonder tells a Sisyphus-like tale of our preoccupation with mapping, grids and ordering the world. A simple kinetic system obsessed with quantifi cation, it is ultimately a feedback-loop manifesting itself as a machine. The device rolls back and forth along the length of two parallel cables that span the gallery and selects a location to begin taking measurements. It then lowers a metallic bob until it makes contact with the surface, measures this height and then represents this measurement as a grey scale on a page, finally dropping the page with its graphic data to the floor below. Eventually the paper sheets build up in height while the tone of the image lightens, reducing the gradation from dark gray to none at all. It then moves on to the next spot. Daniels has created a mechanical device that instrumentalizes the gallery, and in turn reifies our obsession with data. With objectivity fixed within the system the device stops, measures, exhausts its interest in the site, and then moves on. Its behavior could be considered the antithesis of liveliness, nonetheless the irony of the narrative is inescapable as we witness the futility of the device’s mission.

  • Steve Daniels uses electronics and communication technologies to create hardware agents, kinetic sculptures, ubiquitous spaces and networked events. Daniels juxtaposes disparate  knowledge systems and experiences in an effort to reveal their underlying structures and  assumptions. Daniels has presented his work at numerous galleries and festivals including  the Ontario Science Centre, InterAccess, Future Sonic (UK), Bay Area Maker Faire, Elektra (QC), Subtle Technologies, Common Pulse, MACHines show at the Centre des Arts, Enghien Les Bain (FR), Eveil/Alive/Despertar (SESC Santana, Sao Paulo, Brazil) and TEI’15 (Stanford, USA). Steve is currently associate professor and Director of the New Media program at Ryerson University, Ontario, Canada.

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