Horologic Solum is a case study and exploration into media memory, its configurative logic, materiality, cultural functionality and the information that gets stored on it, distorted, decayed and reinterpreted. The piece interrogates archival media modes, communication technologies and how they fail to transform and translate across expansive stretches of space and time. Using the NASA Golden Record as an artifact of human civilization, the contents of the records are run through a “system of decay”, as meaning and memory dissolve. The installation consists of two tables each with a tape machine, a timer clock, and a cassette tape running system. As the tapes cycle through the installation, their materiality is eaten away, that process sonified as the content is destroyed. The clock keeps a steady count of the time elapsed until the media dies. Lived experiences and gained wisdom distill into collective memory and culture, the residue that we race to memorialize and archive before they are forgotten. The price of forgetting can be dangerous and even fatal at times. As the Golden Record fades away into the distance and away from our recollection, we ask: What is it that needs to be preserved and passed on?
There are 5 layers of time:
1) The time of the original Golden Record for the voyager when it was first created in the 70s. It was a cultural snapshot of our own perception of human culture.
2) The time of the Golden Record, as cultural repercussion of the original artifact.
3) The time of the tape deck machine, or machine time, is the innate time of the medium. Throughout the show, we recorded the number of repetitions before the tape breaks.
4) The time of the performance, from the beginning of the playing of the recording to the moment that the tape breaks, which we recorded in seconds.
5) Finally, the time and space in which the audience exists, exhibition time, which we recorded on archival bags that were used to collect the remnants of the tapes at the end of the show.
This installation was created in collaboration with Vivian Xu. This piece was commissioned by the Shenzhen Science, Technology and Arts (STArts) Festival in 2020.
This piece was featured in Neural Magazine Issue 68 - Winter 2021, and was nominated for Ars Electronica 2021 in the AI and Life Art category.
Artists: Benjamin Bacon, Vivian Xu
Installation view of piece. Shenzhen Science, Technology and Arts (STArts) Festival, 2020-2021.
Horologic Solum, Documentation Video, STArts Festival, 2020
Details of installation. Shenzhen Science, Technology and Arts (STArts) Festival, 2020-2021.
Shenzhen Science, Technology and Arts (STArts) Festival, 2020-2021 Official Exhibition Video.