Open Grammars, Points of AbstractionAV performanceLED strip, LED sign, enamelled copper wire, Arduino18 min2020
Open Grammars, Points of Abstraction is a performance, that relates to issues of abstraction and translation in technological and economic contexts.
Its core is an audiovisual synthesizer, consisting of enamelled copper wire wrapped around an LED strip, therein forming an electromagnetic coil. Both ends of the wire are connected to an amplifier that feeds a pair of speakers. If the LED strip lights up, the electromagnetic field emitted by the active LEDs and their circuits generates a voltage signal in the coil, that is then amplified and made audible through the speakers.
The synthesizer translates light into sound, pointing to the open grammars of technological media, where aesthetic phenomena (light, sound etc.) often appear as mere choices of interface, translatable renderings that make sensible streams of abstract data. A LED sign, reading Open is positioned next to it, presenting the instrument itself as a visual abstraction. Furthermore, these signs usually mark places of trade, especially in working class neighborhoods. One can find them e.g. in front of takeaways – kebab, pizza, noodles –, cafes, small shops and brothels. Within these spaces of economic abstraction, labour, goods and bodies are sold, exchanged and exploited based on a general underlying abstraction of value. Through the lens of capital, almost everything can appear as translatable rendering of its global flows.