Deep Data Prototype_3


As a part of our Digitalis project, running throughout 2017 at Milton Keynes Central Library, in partnership with Milton Keynes Council, Artist in Residence Andy Gracie will be exhibiting and creating new work.

This month, we asked Andy to write us a guest blog about his first visit.

Visit one:
Installation of Deep Data Prototype 3
Meetings with Planetary Science researchers at the Open University

This was the first visit of the Digitalis residency, the desired result of the whole thing being the ongoing exhibition of my piece Deep Data Prototype_3, and the development of a new piece from working with the School of Planetary Sciences at the Open University for exhibition in September.

I was slightly concerned about not having seen the work in just over a year, it having been living in Norway since its exhibition there last year. I had no idea what kind of condition the electronics and motors were in, and the code wasn’t exactly fresh in my mind. Still, the unboxing and remounting went easily and quickly, and the piece, at least mechanically, worked like a dream. Two good lessons were learnt though:

  1. Never save a piece of code you will use a year later with the name ‘Final’ when it is not the final.
  2. Nematodes are best carried in hand luggage to avoid possibly fatal temperature shock.

Fortunately, Rachel McMullan of the Rachel McMullan lab at the Open University saved my life with a generous offer of new nematodes at short notice. They are happily spinning in the gravity of the Trappist exoplanets right now.

Deep Data Prototype_3 is now installed and functioning in the entrance to Milton Keynes Central Library and will remain there until September. Currently it is reproducing the gravity of three of the recently discovered Trappist planets. Any new ‘Earth-like’ discoveries will supplant them if and when they happen.

The development of the new project began with a series of meetings and tours of the School of Planetary Sciences, home of the unfortunate Beagle mission to Mars and provider of instruments to the much more successful Rosetta/Philae, Cassini/Huygens and ExoMars missions, amongst others. Thanks to the generosity of Simon Green and his comprehensive overview of facility activities and space mission logistics, Queenie Chan and her fascinating space dust, and Manish Patel with his dirty Mars simulations and hyper-velocity impacts I have plenty to think about. The next task, and asap, is to pull this together into a coherent project that I can develop with them over the next four or five months.

Andy Gracie’s first installation, Deep Data Prototype_3 is currently on display in the Milton Keynes Central Library foyer.