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Which clippings match 'Wonderment' keyword pg.1 of 1
04 JUNE 2013

The Senster: pioneering cybernetic sculpture

"The Senster, commissioned by the electronics giant, Philips, for their permanent showplace, the Evoluon, in Eindhoven, was a much bigger and more ambitious piece of work than SAM. In addition to responding to people's voices, the Senster also responded to their movements, which it detected by means of radar, and was (as far as I know) the first robotic sculpture to be controlled by a computer. It was unveiled in 1970 and remained on permanent show until 1974 when it was dismantled.

Its size – it was over 15 feet (4 m) long and could reach as high into the air – made the use of aluminium castings inappropriate, so it was welded out of steel tubing, with the castings employed only in the more intricate microphone positioning mechanism. Its behaviour, controlled by a computer, was much more subtle than SAM's but still fairly simple. The microphones would locate the direction of any predominant sound and home in on it, rather like SAM but much more efficiently, and the rest of the structure would follow them in stages if the sound persisted. Sudden movements or loud noises would make it shy away. The complicated acoustics of the hall and the completely unpredictable behaviour of the public made the Senster's movements seem a lot more sophisticated than they actually were. It soon became obvious that it was that behaviour and not anything in its appearance which was responsble for the impact which the Senster undoubtedly had on the audience."

(Aleksandar Zivanovic)

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TAGS

1970acousticsart + technologyartificial intelligenceartificial life • audio activated • audio controlledautomata • computer controlled • computer historycomputer sculpturecybernetic art • cybernetic sculpture • Cybernetic Serendipitycybernetics • direction detection • Edward Ihnatowicz • Eindhoven • futuristic machineshanging mobileinteractive artinteractive toykinetic artkinetic sculpturemechanical beingmechanismmovementPhilipsradarrobotroboticrobotic sculpturerobotics • SAM (Sound Activated Mobile) • sculptureshow (spectacle)simulation • sound activated • sound sculpturespeculative design • The Senster • wonderment

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
06 FEBRUARY 2006

Spectacle as Show: not an inferior part of tragedy

"In a brief but suggestive passage from his Ten Books on Architecture, Leone Battista Alberti, the fifteenth–century Renaissance poet, philosopher, and architect, sets public performance into a frame of social exchange. His subject being architecture, he arrives in his eighth book at the point of discussing 'Places for publick Shows.' ...

In placing the Actor within the wider category of public shows, Alberti reminds us of the organic connections among all forms of performance. He is at the opposite pole from Aristotle who considered drama a branch of literary art. What Alberti identifies as Show, Aristotle catalogued as an inferior part of tradegy: spectacle. Alberti's practice coincided with and reinforced the practice of his contemporaries and successors. Until the renaissance, most of these were rhetoricians. Their five parts of rhetoric–the number into which the subject was most frequently divided–included delivery. Here, it would seem, was an opportunity to discuss public performance since delivery concerned the manner of speaking. But quite contrary. Writing on delivery illustrates the conventional and persistent subordination of the event of speaking to the composition of speech. So prevalent was this way of ordering the parts of rhetoric and poetics that rare indeed was the person who conceived of performance as an independent entity."
(Bernard Beckerman, 1990)

Beckerman, Bernard. 1990 p.Prologue X. Theatratical Presentation, New York, USA: Routledge.

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TAGS

aesthetic spectacleamazementarchitectureAristotleastonishmentawe • Bernard Beckerman • curiositydramaemotional immersionEuropean Renaissanceexhilarating experienceLeon Battista Alberti • marvel • narrativeorderingperformance • performance spectacle • Places for publick Shows • Poeticspublic shows • puzzlement • rhetoricshockshow (spectacle)social exchangespacespectaclesurprise • Ten Books on Architecture • theatretragedy • wonder • wonderment
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