GROWING INFORMATION (Video Installation)

This is a digital video projection installation piece titled, ‘Growing Information,’ in which a large lined-paper school notebook lies on top of several other smaller notebooks open flat on a table with a black cloth. Projected on to these pages, on one side is a continuous coding in the programming language, ‘C,’ of the Fibonacci sequence. On the other side there is a continuous growing and un-growing of a bean stock plant superimposed over top of the simultaneous growing and un-growing of its own roots. These projections are not set in opposition but rather as a spread on one set of two pages in the middle of a student’s notebook. For this piece, I was inspired by the work of Eduardo Kac. Although famous for his glowing rabbit piece, I was actually inspired by a previous work of his called ‘Genesis’ which had the text of the biblical book turned into an artificial gene which was manipulated in a gallery by web users around the world. Although my piece did not have a living synthetic organism being manipulated by random web users, it did engage the interesting nexus between living organism and computer code, two fundamental elements of the human experience on contemporary planet Earth, through the lens of those who will soon be controlling the fate of that green-blue dot, grade school students. This piece is meant to directly engage the concepts and ideas of ‘Daylighting the Classroom,’ my current eco art research project. Specifically, what is being addressed here is the recent advent of 21st Century Learning — essentially a practice based on teaching students how to use computers instead of teaching students how elements of their world (including computers) work — which is being pushed by the school board, Central Okanagan school district, I am working with currently and many like it. This is not a bad thing per se, but it has lead to school boards like this one moving to put out of date computers in classrooms when such limited funds as exist in a school board could be put towards enhancing what I consider the first educational resource, nature in a more productive balance with technology.