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Prix 1987 - 2007

ORF Oberösterreich

An Invisible Force
Crispin Jones

My work is about exploring aspects of our relationship to technology. With „An Invisible Force“ I am exploring how we use technology as a tool for making decisions. Computers fulfill a role which has certain parallels with the way in which horoscopes are consulted -both are used as psychological tools for absolving us from taking the absolute responsibility for a decision.

Early computers were developed for specific predictive purposes - to know where a ball would land given certain information about prevailing conditions. „An Invisible Force“ is an exploration of the visionary role which technology seeks to occupy (this aspiration can be clearly seen in the name of one of the largest computer companies in the world - Oracle). One of the first television appearances by a computer was in the capacity of predictor of the future: At the suggestion of Remington Rand, CBS-JV used a UNIVAC [the first commercial computer system] to predict the outcome of the 1952 presidential election ...

Historically there are many devices which have sought to exploit people s fascination with divining the future. There is a long tradition of systems and devices for telling the future, within this tradition are such items as fortune-cookies, newspaper horoscopes and fortune-telling automata. All of these devices, no matter how crude, provide people with an intriguing and rewarding experience. Irrespective of the accuracy of the prediction, people enjoy the ritual and derive pleasure from knowing their future. „An Invisible Force“ differs from the tradition of fortune-tellers in that it tries to obstruct the user from seeing their entire fortune, as the plate heats up under the user s fingertips a bargain must be entered into with the table - in order to read the answer you must endure the pain. I hope that at this stage users question their belief in the system, or at least weigh up their desire to see the answer against their willingness to endure the discomfort.