The Machine is the latest in the LEA’s 2013 Full Sim Art series to open, and will run through until the end of November. Located on LEA 6, the installation is by Lilia Artis & Moeuhane Sandalwood, and represents their view on what might happen if humanity seeks technological perfection above everything else. It presents, at first look, a self-fulfilling world where technology exists for the betterment of the human mind, and the human mind exists to maintain the machine – but is it really so?
The creatures have created a perfectly functioning world. They live in the ever-present. As a sound community. With joined minds and spirits. Interconnected. Completely. They run the machine – and are run by the machine. They are the machine. The peak of innovation. The end of evolution. Their creation.
They are a society without memory. Their history a mere shadow. Because there is no need to remember. Why remember what is of no value. They are perfect.
So states the opening description of the installation; and when you arrive, you get to see this perfection first-hand; in a technologically pristine environment sits the Machine, surrounded by the minds that both gave birth to it and give it purpose, and who are given life and purpose by the Machine, in a closed and chilling cycle, apparently devoid of past or future.
At what cost has this come? In the pursuit of perfection without thought of the consequences, what has humanity, as seen in this great hall, actually lost? This is the question visitors to the installation are invited to explore through their “inner archaeologist and ethnologist”.
The machine and its “perfect minds” both literally and figuratively sit at the highest plateau of human evolution; but explore the build and you’ll discover that the plateau itself is made up of many layers sitting one atop another, each harkening back to earlier times and hinting at what has been lost – and what may yet rise up once more to haunt those minds so earnest in their dedication to running the machine that runs them.
Each level is there to be explored in turn, although the passages between them may not always be obvious, so take your time exploring. The way down to the lowest level and the further point in the past – what we might consider the present – isn’t particularly obvious, keep your eyes peeled for a hole in the floor of a building.
This is a thought-provoking piece. As you descend through the various levels, you’ll doubtless form your own answer to that question as to the price of human evolution when only technology is seen as holding the key. In this, Lilia and Moe are to be congratulated in only providing the most subtle of pointers to direct any thinking on the matter, leaving it up to the observer to draw their own conclusions.
- The Machine SLurl (Rated: Moderate)