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Null Object

Gustav Metzger Thinking About Nothing

written by Bronac Ferran, Hari Kunzru

Black Dog | ISBN 9781908966124

Paperback – 96 pages


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Null Object charts the collaboration between London Fieldworks (Bruce Gilchrist and Jo Joelson) and internationally celebrated artist Gustav Metzger to create a sculptural work by linking a computer-brain interface with industrial manufacturing technology. Using bespoke software, London Fieldworks produced 3-D information from EEG readings of Metzger's brainwaves as he attempted to think about nothing. This data was translated into instructions for a manufacturing robot, which carved out shapes from the interior of a block of stone to create a void. An introduction by the artists, a text by Gustav Metzger and essays by writers across literature, art, science and technology explore the historical and conceptual grounding for and broader implications of Null Object's production process. Novelist Hari Kunzru explores nothingness as a productive category, while Dr Christopher Tyler, inventor of the random-dot autostereogram, contrasts representations of negative space in art practice with perceptual representations in science. Essays by Nick Lambert and Bronac Ferran examine the resonances of Metzger's participation in the project. Lambert situates London Fieldworks' practice within questions about the place of the human in the informational world; Ferran focuses on Metzger's commitment to the the radical consequences of emptiness within both modernist discourse and the context of ecological crisis. A timely addition and challenge to the present climate of technological evolution and increasing cybernetic augmentation, Null Object offers an alternative model for a creative, non-invasive interface between body, mind and machine.

Artist: Gustav Metzger

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