Gegenwartsmaschine and Interaction Moulds Present (Master Thesis)

“Interaction moulds present” is the fundamental assumption of my master thesis What Is Now. Whereas Gegenwartsmaschine is the practical outcome of this theoretical work.

Excerpt of the thesis’ abstract

The thesis What Is Now searches for a viable concept of how the present is established. This concept is shortly summarized in “interaction moulds present”. A concept which reflects on findings in quantum physics and the branches of social science in constructivism.
In the course of this thesis, several concepts of quantum physics and constructivist social science are explained to outline the meaning of interaction in these fields. Additional attention is turned to the understanding of interaction in human-computer-interaction and interactive media art. Two fields strongly associated with the word interaction nowadays. Furthermore, ideas of system theory and their reciprocal interaction will be drawn from the fields of social science and HCI and applied throughout the thesis.
Thereupon, parallels are shown of interaction in quantum mechanical systems and constructivist social science, always in regard to how the present is moulded through interaction.
Three main ascertainments were made:

  • Systems have intrinsic order.
  • Interaction is inevitable.
  • Interaction forms conditions and provides rules.

These led to the conclusion that interaction moulds the present.

In the light of the findings and gained insights, an interactive art work was created as part of this thesis. It attempts to enable its audience to reflect upon the concept which is established in this paper.

Full thesis for download

Interactive work Gegenwartsmaschine

Gegenwartsmaschine is an interactive installation, which reacts to the observer’s present. On the outside it is an ordinary black box. Through a hole in the box the audince may peeking inside into a lit up space with undefinable dimensions. The light inside is generated by a true random generator each time. The light may be different for every observer interacting with the system.

Besides the subjects discussed in this thesis, like interaction is inevitable, the retrenching nature of interaction, superposition and the consequences for the future, Gegenwartsmaschine is referencing two historical situations in the research of quantum physics.
On the one hand the technique how the ideal light source was created and subsequently Max Planck’s discovery of quantization of light. On the other hand the thought experiment known as Schrödinger’s cat.

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