What is it?
Time-based: Using 1,152 digits in “18:88” clock displays with 7,200 individual pixel elements, this artwork addresses themes of robotics, inevitability, and automation with imagery of fractal trees, geometric increases, countdowns, and scenes from the film Metropolis.
“One-to-Many” is built with a large number of vintage, unused LED displays sold for clock manufacturers; there are 48 panels in total, each featuring 6 “18:88” display modules.
In the aluminum-clad “One-to-Many,” I combine 288 clock displays with my custom electronics to form an overall display device with 7,200 pixels.
This large display is used to show anxiety-inducing views of robotics, inevitability, and automation:
- Countdown clocks that never quite reach 0, reminiscent of the “Doomsday clock”
- Orbs falling from the sky, in geometrically increasing quantities
- Scenes from the film “Metropolis”
- Fractal trees
These visuals are mixed and matched on the fly, blending back and forth, sometimes with static obscuring the view. The sequence is generated by the device; each moment is unique.
The device itself is made with vintage, surplus “18:88” LED modules sold for clock manufacturing; I designed circuit boards, soldered their components, and built custom software to run on a small computer enclosed in the device. I built its enclosure with aluminum extrusion.
In showing these visuals of increasing complexity and robotics, I hope to invoke the idea of a “technological singularity,” in which human-created technologies become more powerful than humans. The creators and promoters of these technologies would likely fare best in such a scenario (c.f. Roko’s basilisk).
I see parallels here with contemporary power structures and technologies, such as social media platforms and gig-economy apps, that are created ostensibly to distribute power in a controlled fashion but ultimately become uncontrollable and centralize power.
- Adafruit: "7200-Segment Display, Anyone?" (September 16, 2021)
- Tom's Hardware: "Raspberry Pi Powers Art in Seven Segments" (September 15, 2021)
- Hackaday: "What’s Cooler Than A 7-Segment Display? A 7200-Segment Display!" (September 14, 2021)
- Hackster: "This Giant Display Uses 1,152 Seven-Segment Digits to Show Graphics" (September 3, 2021)