A self-perpetuating, self-generating, self-regulating system (which is quite possibly an idealistic impossibility) / by LW

In an act of blog-fail guilt (last post in December? Holy moly!*), herein I post a slightly altered version of a piece I wrote recently, to contribute to the first stage of a multi-phase exhibition project in which I had no actual artwork.


Recently, I've been thinking a lot about analogue systems.

My current studio work has focused on looping systems, with no start or end point. Due to the nature of these systems, each element, both electronic (motors, relays and switches) and mechanical (sculptural elements in motion) is crucial to the ongoing action of the work.

Of late, however, these systems have come to feel rigid, pre-determined, and overtly authored.

Subsequently, I have been attempting to create systems which are self-regulating, with self-generated sequencing. In short: I want to make systems in which I, as artist-creator, take little part. Unpredictable, random, ongoing systems.

My current experiment has proven this to be a very difficult (I am not yet ready to concede impossible) task.

Why should it be so difficult to make a random yet ongoing system? I suspect that the dilemma actually lies in language. For, in actual fact, systematic and random are antonyms; to be systematic is to defeat randomness. To have a system that is ongoing and self-contained, and also random or self-determined, has so far eluded me – and perhaps this is why.

Quite possibly, these two hypothetical ideals – the ongoing (and in reality, gallery-suitable) looped system, and the self-determined, random, unpredictable system – are mutually exclusive. The current experiment suggests this may be the case. Hopefully the next experiment will prove otherwise.


* Dictionary spelling check-up was required here. Holy moly.