Abandon All Normal Devices, Ye Who Enter Here…
OR ‘Reflecting on Data Mining && Divination @ AND Festival
Data Mining && Divination was commissioned by Abandon Normal Devices 2011, which had as its core theme ‘belief’.
Data Mining && Divination fitted quite well with this theme given it’s concern with the faith placed in algorithmically perceived patterns and the sway they hold over us.
I was honoured to be part of AND Festival which was a thoroughly thrilling festival with many an interesting art project. Here I’d like to divulge some of the thought processes behind the project (if you’d an idea of what the experience was like please check out the project page here)
Asking the human to note how many tea leaves remain is completely at odds with how a traditional tea leaf reading would occur. Usually once the last of the tea remains the person scrying the tea leaves will tell the consultant what shapes remain. However before they do that they have to minutely register the number of tea leaves at certain points in the tea cup. The points they scrutinize do relate to tasseomantic logic, as the distance from brim to base is afforded a temporal dimension in tea leaf reading, however the number of tea leaves is irrelevant (the shape it resembles is paramount). This served a dual purpose for me: it was at once a means of capturing additional data to correlate at a later date and it also played into the idea of how can one quantify the associative.
As trials with the interface developed it became clear this served a further purpose: it broke the trance like register which people were prone to enter care of the tea drinking and hypnotic inverted glass gaze from the bottom of the cup. This was interesting for me as I grew to be interested in how tasseomancy may have functioned in a manner akin to hypnotic suggestion (you enter a ritualised space which engages the associative dimension of your mental faculties before a consultant informs you of what a certain symbol will bring to your life, all of which echoes the process by which hypnotherapists will plant hypnotic suggestions. The thing about hypnotic suggestions is how they attain a reality by nudging your behaviour through taking root in your unconscious – or so the theory goes).
All data gathered is held for a later date of future data mining. Several thousand entries would be required for a KDD process to discern patterns meaningful to the parameters by which patterns are significant to algorithms. As a halfway house mediation on machinic versus wetware pattern importance the video footage is stored for later computer vision analysis