The Reader is a large six foot sculpture of the artist Stanza wearing a hoodie reading a book which stands at the heart Of Milton Keynes Central Libraries. The artwork is a metaphor for the engagement of reading in the digital age. The sculpture acts as a focal point for community and public engagement and has taken over one year to make and design.
The sculpture is based on a 3d scan of the artist’s body and It is made of transparent perspex with 100 mini text displays and custom made electronic systems. It reads texts from all the books published since 1952.
The data body acts to reposition a future view of ourselves when embedded technologies will become part of our everyday lives. The sculpture becomes a pulsing algorithmic heartbeat. It is made with custom made digital software and hardware generating live events inside the sculpture. The artwork explores new ways of thinking about life, the emergence and interaction within public space, and how this affects the socialization of space. It uses open data and new technologies to question audiences’ experiences of real-time events.
After scanning the artists body the file was modelled into the shapes that are cut. From perspex the whole construction is then assembled like a jig saw. Over one hundred micro display screens show data from every book published since 1952. Millions of lines of text are read and consumed inside the system of The Reader. A separate sensor system uses bright blue wires to give the effect of blood pulsing through the veins of the body.
We live in a world of infobesity, we are bombarded with information that is made maleable and shaped to give it meaning. There is too much information, it all becomes so loud, so noisy.
The Future Body
“The only future I can see,” says the cybernetics professor Kevin Warwick at the University of Reading, England, “is one where there are perhaps humans as we know them today, but we also have the cyborg entity — the part human, part machine, with all different varieties.”
Reading is a complex cognitive process of decoding symbols in order to construct or derive meaning. It is a means of language acquisition, of communication, and of sharing information and ideas. Reading requires creativity and critical analysis. Readers use a variety of reading strategies to assist with decoding (to translate symbols into sounds or visual representations of speech) and comprehension. Readers may use context clues to identify the meaning of unknown words. Readers integrate the words they have read into their existing framework of knowledge or schema (schemata theory). Other types of reading are not speech based writing systems, such as music notation or pictograms. The common link is the interpretation of symbols to extract the meaning from the visual notations or tactile signals (as in the case of Braille).
Commissioned by Milton Keynes Libraries and funded by Arts Council England as part of The Digitalis Programme.
The reader consists of:-
100 led matrix displays and custom designed and maufactured PCB boards, custom made cables, custom made and modelled perspex body, base box and laser cut metal plate, six arduinos and custom made PCB boards, power sockets and custom power box. Custom made a software controller system and custom made software for arduinos. Also L wire and three custom made controller boards and slider.
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