The title of this piece, Datum, is a singular noun meaning, “a piece of information”. This is in reference to the singular experience that is created from a collection of data (the plural form of datum).
In this piece of kinetic sculpture, well-known technology (computer harddrives salvaged from various computers on their way to a computer graveyard) are re-positioned as an audio-visual experience. The piece is intended to hang on a wall, yet can be adapted for various installation opportunities. It requires a single common household power outlet and is motion-activated to save energy.
Version 2 of this piece after a complete rebuild with new power supplies and hard disk drives, December 2009.
Close-up of the hard disk drives in action. See video documentation below.
Curator Carina Evangelista, Gretchen Hupfel Curator of Contemporary Art at the DCCA, wrote about this piece and another piece as part of the exhibition SHIFT: Kinetic Sculptures, “In an age of heightened awareness of the need for recycling and in a culture that has heretofore been fed on the idea of infinite material abundance, Ashley John Pigford collects discarded computer hard drives and transforms them into kinetic sculptures. 28,770 Megabytes and Knock Knock Sonic Joke Machine feature exposed hard drives, switches, and wiring on unadorned found wood panels. Their naked physicality makes them interesting objects and their spinning and clicking alludes to the inextricable notion of work they represent. Their condition as discarded hard drives with stored or deleted data suggests a kind of mechanical melancholy but also signals a renewal and transformation in their new incarnation.” (see http://www.thedcca.org/Galleries/ham.html).
Installation View of Version 1, (titled “28,770 Megabytes”), part of my New Wilmington Art Association Exhibition, November 2008.
Harddrives are containers for data – digital information – ones and zeros – fragments of knowledge. Harddrives are also mechanisms for saving and retrieving data, symbolic of the human brain. These machines are a cornerstone of modern life and something that so many people know nothing about. What happens when these machines are uncovered and allowed to be perceived as the objects they truly are?
Close-up of the Parallax Basic Stamp II micro-controller, (top left), PIR motion sensor, (bottom left), and mosfet board, (right).
This piece consists primarily of 15 Harddrives and 4 Dell Power Supplies controlled by a Parallax Basic Stamp 2 micro-controller through an array of mosfets to spin-up and spin-down at individual intervals. This creates a chorus of spinning and clicking – a perceptual experience that is very difficult to describe and document.
First installation of piece at the RISD Alumni Exhibition, Philadelphia, PA (February 2008)