The FOREVER-DO Infestation

Jill Townsley (Artist)

Research output: Non-textual formExhibition

Abstract

The Forever-do Infestation takes its structural form from an unfolded Petri Net, as symbolised in the `Bucket Chain’ network (Carl Adam Petri) and is a result of a collaboration with computer scientist Carlo Ferigato at the JRC in Italy. The two-dimensional graphical depictions of the `Bucket Chain’ structure unfolded, is contorted in three-dimensional space. The nodes are a joining point for 1500 bamboo canes that make up the body of the Installation.

The Installation also has colour flowing through its network. The colour moves through the shape in a way authorised by data from the Forever-do Game (Townsley 2019). The coloured doormats in the game (red, blue, yellow and black) translate into colours flowing through the Installation. Places of meeting within the game become nodes in the installation.

The siting of the sculpture at the Karl Friedrich Gauss Laboratory is important to the development of the overall Installation, its structural form and its concept. The Laboratory was built in 1999 to evaluate equipment used in detecting landmines, it became the Test Facility for Humanitarian Demining Technology, within the then JRC Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen.

The Gauss Laboratory building was constructed with as little metal as possible, to avoid spurious signals when operating metal detectors and ground penetrating radar. Giving this “noble” building the exterior appearance of little more than a very large garden shed.

The Gauss Laboratory stands now in disrepair and unused, since the project was closed suddenly at the end of 2006. It became apparent, in part because of the laboratory’s own research, that the effort needed for the development of a sophisticated device, incorporating several different types of sensors, was much greater than had been expected. This required more money, money that might be better applied in other ways considering
the broader socio-political contexts. In other words, the data flowing from the Gauss Laboratory, while productive of new understanding, also contributed to the shift of research away from the laboratory itself. A suicidal return of data that through its free flow destroys its point of origin, while still being indicative of good experimental insight.

The Forever-do infestation is sited here in response to this once functional, but ultimately, self-sacrificing building. The installation engulfs the laboratory with a physical structure whose conceptual origins represent the invisible flow of data between the tangible and intangible. It infests the space around, blurring its silhouette and moving it further away from its functional origin. Yet at the same time it also marks the place of experimentation for the laboratory and the artwork - its dolce utopia.

The Project was developed during a collaboration between computer science researcher Carlo Ferigato from the Joint Research Centre (JRC), Italy. The JRC is the European Commission's science and knowledge service which employs scientists to carry out research in order to provide independent scientific advice and support to EU policy. The SciArt project intends to integrate art in the JRC's multidisciplinary work on an equal footing. Jill has been an artist expert for the EU Commission since June 2018, and was artist in residence at the JRC during the first 6 months of 2019.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationIspra, Italy
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2019
EventResonances III Festival: Datami, the Exhibition - European Commission – Joint Research Centre, Ispra, Italy
Duration: 15 Oct 20198 Nov 2019
https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/en/event/exhibition/resonances-iii-exhibition

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