Neal and Jane started categorizing what the sculpture will experience and what the sculpture will express. We decided on some interesting things to look into such as: pH, pressure, sound, wind, sunshine and heat. We want to carefully look at what these different experiences would possibly mean in the future and how the sculpture can express these changes.
While looking into the future, Jane decided that a good idea would be to try and create a a history of the future and what our future predictions could possibly be. This is a really great proposal and we decided that it could be very interesting to create sculptures with different futures since each action or decision that we make today could potentially forever change the future. Whatever the current situation was, its future self's effects would be amplified over the longer time scale. This could be expressed through smaller scale models that would share the exhibit.
Another possible idea that was mentioned was using diatoms to help create a microenvironment in the sculpture. This would be a very interesting process since diatoms are all so very different and take on different sizes and can be genetically engineered to take on different shapes.
Another idea that could possibly be added to the project is the concept of the carbon cycle and how where the carbon is stored in the carbon cycle could potentially really effect the environmental change that could possibly take place in the future.
Another interesting part of the carbon cycle is the effect of atomic testing has had on the carbon that has been release in the atmosphere. There was a massive peak in the 1950s.
At the end of the meeting we all decided that a good way to approach this entire project would be to find different people in different departments and ask for their visions for the sculpture. This is really great proposal because we can get so much insight from so many people with different backgrounds. This would truly be using all the resources that are available to us at MIT.
We decided on a thesis sentence to describe the work that we're doing for the sculpture.
Thesis: By combining environmentally safe and responsive materials (pH, pressure, sound etc.) and using the artist's original work as guidance, we are trying to model the impact that this piece has on the environment and vice versa and incorporating that information into our design.
Some Further Notes on the Model (which we think of as performing the future we anticipate):
Neal proposes that "to exist is to shelter." He also observes that the sculpture needn't process/evaluate its sensory input the way we (and animals and plants) do.
We have talked about "expression" as a kind of vital force. If we say that the sculpture "expresses" its environment, how can it not be processing/evaluating it? --Because we (the creators) are doing that and thereby making the sculpture "merely" a passive, "played upon" thing? --Is there someway for it to (or will it inevitably) outperform us? If so, is the sculpture then processing?
Human beings loop information. We integrate all our current and past sensory information and thereby develop fluencies and dispositions. By contrast, we can think of the sculpture's responses as reflexes; i.e., here's how "I" respond to the wind, here's how "I" respond to the rain.
The viewer observing does the processing that the sculpture is not doing. The sculpture can feel things that we can't feel yet (as in an anticipated future) and things that we can't feel now (i.e., micro-environments of the water, on the skin, vibrations for echolocation).
This reminds me of a discussion with Timur Sahin during his studio visit at the end of February and of the conversation that preceded it with Katharine, Neal, and Daniel about conceiving the sculpture's possible mate or conjugate as a discrete sculpture. --Of course, viewers, and artists, are the artwork's implicit (and active) mate and conjugate.