COLLOQUY OF MOBILES – GORDON PASK
1968 (reconstruction in 2018) • CYBERNETIC SCULPTURE
Imagine walking into a gallery and seeing these larger-than-life mobiles hanging from the ceiling — they rotate, blink, squawk, and sometimes synchronize with each other, completely without human intervention. You walk among them, blocking their interactions, using a flashlight to attract their attention, wanting to get in on their conversation. This was Gordon Pask’s Colloquy of Mobiles at the Institute for Contemporary Art in London, part of an exhibition called Cybernetic Serendipity in 1968. Yes, 50 years ago in 1968 — an exploration of machine-to-machine and person-to- machine conversations in an interactive, immersive environment, perhaps the first of its kind. Frequently praised for its originality and influence, Pask’s Colloquy of Mobiles is a precursor to practices of contemporary art and design, as well as a prescient vision of our future with machines that may choose to act on their own. Colloquy of Mobiles has influenced generations of artists and critics concerned with the role of technology in everyday life. It has never before been reproduced and the project has garnered attention and support from communities in the arts, media, design, and education.
In celebration of the 50th anniversary, a full-scale version of Pask’s Colloquy of Mobiles has been replicated, approximately 10’ by 12’ in floor area and stretching from floor to ceiling. While the physical form is as close as possible to the 1968 original, it is driven by modern digital software, sensors, and motors. This makes possible the recreation of the dynamic interactions as Pask designed them in 1968 as well as the invitation to students to explore what the newest technologies in 2018.
Reconstruction by: Paul Pangaro and TJ McLeish, and the students of MFA Interaction Design at College for Creative Studies, Detroit, USA.
Actions (with Matthieu Vlaminck and TJ McLeish):
. Setup in Centre Pompidou, Paris
. Dismantling in Centre Pompidou, Paris
. Setup in ZKM, Karlsruhe