ADA: Interactive Kinetic Sculpture

Karina Smigla-Bobinski's "art-making" machine arrives at OMM.

Karina Smigla-Bobinski’s ADA is an interactive installation named after Ada Lovelace, one of the world’s first computer programmers. The daughter of renowned poet Lord Byron, she was the first to recognize that the potential of computers lay beyond mere calculation— she set out to create a machine that could create works of art, such as poetry, music, or pictures, just like an artist. Similarly, ADA extends the possibilities of automation into a realm of creative generation.

Smigla-Bobinski’s kinetic sculpture is a large globe filled with helium and embedded with charcoal spikes that enable it to leave traces on the surfaces it encounters as it floats around the room. The nature of the marks is determined by the audience’s interaction, as well as the art-machine’s own autonomous movements. A mutual agency forms between object and audience, expressing itself in the traces left by the charcoal around the exhibition space. These traces slowly build into patterns and signs, in effect allowing ADA to develop its own ephemeral symbolic language throughout the installation. ADA assumes the traditionally human act of coding by leaving it up to the audience to decrypt this language.

As Lovelace’s poetic vision for the computer reached past basic command execution, so Smigla-Bobinski’s ADA unearths the hidden creative talents of machinery.

ADA is an inventor, a visionary whose messages test the bounds of our own subjectivity and interpretation.

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