A Natural History of Networks / SoftMachine, electrochemical performance


Gordon Pask was a cyberneticist in the 1950s who experimented with electrochemical systems that exhibited elementary forms of learning. Ralf Baecker has investigated these systems and built a contemporary, evolved version of one of them. In “A Natural History of Networks / SoftMachine,” Baecker uses galinstan, a metal alloy that can be found in commercial thermometers, in a sodium hydroxide solution. Alternating electrical pulses excite the liquid metal, its internal networked structure, and the surrounding chemical system, causing it to deform in a feedback loop. With multiple cameras to visualise the system, and sound as a direct translation of the process, this performance is a computational dance between the substances involved and the underlying magnetic forces, a luminous liquid metal aesthetics.


Ralf Baecker – A Natural History of Networks / SoftMachine