The chance that makes it what we are

with Emma Fält



robotic arm

real-time video

 “... the incomputable is the leading force of human evolution: incomputability is why history is human”. (Franco "Bifo" Berardi, Futurability - The Age of Impotence and the Horizon of Possibility, Verso, 2017.)


The concept for  “The chance that makes it what we are” is a juxtaposition of a nearly perfectly repeatable process, the one of the robotic arm that moves with millimetric precision and a chaotic complex one, which is the movement and recombination of sound.

It is like observing a machine tossing a dice with a million faces and trying to follow and make sense of this process. With respect to the theme of the exhibition we are interested in what precedes error, that is the moment we recognize an event as such;  what stands before us is a horizon of potentialities triggered by accidents we try to attach meaning to.

The piece is also a stage where the arm is a sort of Demiurge, a God that plays with matter to generate a cosmos. We face the unfolding of this process, watching it dancing with the cage.

The projected images are at first a microscopic view of what is happening inside the box; such a small world that suddenly becomes as large as all the matter available. Later computer visions, interpretation of Emma's frottages, create patterns and geometric assemblages that resemble constellations. Finally, the image explodes in 3d space and the digital matter is free to articulate itself in rivers of sand, where the energy lets the sand flow and continuously recombine in new forms.

Dually, Emma has used a frottage technique to extract traces of material from the chaotic sand movement created by the robot by dropping the sand on top of the paper. In this asynchronous dialogue, there is a possible interpretation or a study of our human condition, plenty of accidents, full of uncontrollable forces but unbearably grounded in the materiality of the universe.

The piece also questions principles of computability, to which extent algorithms and AI can replace our capacity to judge and make sense of situations. Other forces are at work, the unconscious mind which refuses all attempts to be computable.

Opening on the 13th of June at Mänttä Art Festival.

The project has been supported by Arts Promotion Centre Finland and Suomen Kulttuurirahasto.