Apparition is a series of six artworks about natural processes envisioned as elaborate machines.
These constructed devices were meant to build natural systems using technological metaphors, a didactic display of industry and natural history. The project focused on exploring ideas of nature as machine and machine as simulation of nature.
The formation of our cultural perceptions in the west in the last several centuries has been the product of a growing adoration of and reliance on science and technology. From the mechanical clock to the steam engine to the silicon chip, our culture has employed its dominant technologies as the fundamental, if not transcendental, laws of nature, laws that are, in a word, mechanistic.
This perception has limitations, which become apparent when we attempt to reproduce portions of nature, particularly in cultural production of the hyper-real.
The Apparition artworks translate unseen and intangible events and actions into a quantified counting, which is displayed on a mechanical counter in the base of the sculptures. These sculptures use a combination of analog and digital electronic components; all are built around a programmed microcontroller connected to either a mechanical or video system. The low-level technology used is meant to reflect the simple organisms depicted in the upper dioramas of the sculptures.
Paul L. Stout
The University of Utah