If/Then

2018/2019

Every day we are surrounded by machines and technological systems that have their own internal clocks. If/Then seeks to make sense of these mathematical time systems contained in the technological systems we daily interact with. Human perception of time is radically different from the workings of computational time and rules, which we ourselves have created. We perceive time in a subjective and fluid way, while computer time and rules are measurable in strict miniaturized sequences and programmed units.

How can we as humans be aware and relate to this shift in perception of time?

Inspired by the duality of behaviour in waves and particles, the work re-imagines a fundamental conditional statement ‘If/Then’ by implementing a natural, fluid element–water–in its execution process. The duality of waves and particles is one of the basic principles of quantum mechanics where every particle or quantum entity may be described as either a particle or a wave. It states that on the fundamental level of our existence reality consists of two essences simultaneously, rather than one (1) or the other (0) as in our current digital binary system. The installation invites the audience to observe the mixed substance either as particle or wave.

The If/Then statement is used in computer programming to create a decision structure: if A happens, then B or C is executed.

In the installation two water wave machines are interconnected by means of a sensor that reads the movement of the wave that arrives at its destination on the other side of each machine. The fluid element water is introduced in this rigid decision system as a chaos element that generates random data. This data becomes part of a computer controlled dialogue of hydrogen bubbles, waves in water, sound from rain and individual water drops that act together as a wave and/or elementary particle.

In this way the work opens up new and unexpected outcomes and interactions within digital systems that are closer to human perception.

If/Then is commissioned by FIBER and is created with the support of the Crossing Parallels programme (TodaysArt & TU Delft), Stroom and the Creative Industries Fund NL.

Software design & development: Marcus Graf, Pandelis Diamantides, Amr Ranneh
Special thanks: Tatiana Kolganova, Evelina Domnitch & Dmitry Gelfand, Bram Vreven, Erwin van Asbeck, Aurèle Adam, Thim Zuidwijk, Wim Uijttewaal, Aidan Wyber, Nabi Kambiz, Luuk Meints

Photos: Maurice Tjon a Tham
Videography: Tanja Busking