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Hiaz.MazineFiveArticler1.1 - 30 Oct 2006 - 14:50 - TWikiGuesttopic end

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Had some PCT lately?

PCT, acronym for power cut test. A PCT is traditionally applied to installation artworks involving electronic and software components to measure the balance of technological and spatial components. To apply the test simply unplug all electronic devices from their power sources and see what remains of a piece. If you find yourself in a dark and practically empty space filled with black screens, silent speakers and shut down computers, the work has failed to address the issues of the SpaceBasedMedia module.

Why is space so important?

"The installation form implies by its definition an engagement with the question of space. An installation both defines and contains space, situating, if not controlling, the viewer within it. In addition, installations that deploy such technologies as video and computer devices delineate time; they are constructed with particular concerns about the length of time viewers will stay with the work versus its cycle, as well as concerns about how to get viewers to move in particular ways in the space. Indeed, one could argue that for artists working in these medium, control of the viewer in time and space is a primary and inevitable goal. The space of installations is inhabited not by the artist but by the viewers. Hence, as Margaret Morse has written, it is the visitor rather than the artist who performs the piece in an installation. The role of the artist is thus to create the rules, limitations, and context for that "performance", as well as to create a context in which it can, perhaps, operate in unanticipated ways." by YosiWanunu

We know English, HTML, JavaScript, we know that a picture says more than a thousands words and we know how to speak in the time based domains of music and film, but what spatial languages do you speak?

Geometry is the branch of mathematics dealing with spatial relationships and because of its immediate practical applications it was one of the first branches of mathematics to be developed. With platonic objects penetrating human minds for over 2000 years now, you might think we should know everything about it, but this is not the case at all. Our understanding of geometry is and has been based on observing nature, on the way elements self-organize in compact, efficient forms producing everything from crystals to trees to galaxies. Here we can observe a natural intelligence that informs all matter, organic and inorganic, an intelligence that also structures the universe spatially. The patterns of natural growth often involve only one extremely well considered step applied in a recursive process. And with each iteration some of these processes define the ultimate natural balance, the golden ratio, with a growing precision.

1 : 1.6180339887498948482045868343656381177203091798057628621354486227052604

The golden ratio, also known as the divine proportion, golden mean, or golden section, is a number often encountered when taking the ratios of distances in simple geometric figures such as the pentagram, decagon and dodecagon. It is denoted phi. It also has surprising connections with continued fractions which are at the basis of the theory of Global Scaling that assumes that the natural scale is not linear but in first approximation logarithmic and in second approximations fractal and hyperbolic, in opposite to the - usually in science used - linear scales for many different physical properties. This basic thesis of Global Scaling can be tested successfully with countless examples in nature. Including the time, nature uses one excellent scale for all physical dimensions and interactions. Only with this understanding are new calculation methods for optimization or prognosis of different physical, biological, chemical and social processes possible.


As installation artists we are concerned with how humans behave socially, how they self-organize in space. The study of geometry as a spatial language is vital not only for the understanding of form and structure, but also for the understanding of the underlying forces of human social behaviour. The PCT test helps to find a balance between the socializing potential of humans and technology separately and altogether. It also helps us to steer clear of some of the major trends in western culture:

  • excessive use of energy
  • excessive production of visual content
  • excessive data processing

"The ability to perceive pattern and make connections, to see parts in relation to the whole, is vital to us in the West where a culture based on dichotomy (art-science, material-spiritual, etc) has been led by a rapidly developing technology towards excessive analysis at the expense of synthesis. (The language of pattern, an enquiry inspired by Islamic decoration, K. Albarn, J. Smith, S. Stelle, D. Walker, Thames and Hudson, London, 1974.)
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