Larry and Debby Kline artists and provocateurs – installation, performances, and other works

Mining a Museum: Finding Hierarchies



Mining a Museum: Finding Hierarchies, 2017
Arduino, computer, wire, human sensors, LED’s, acrylic, digital video, monitors, furniture
Dimensions variable

This artwork was created for Extra-Ordinary Collusions, an exhibition focusing on collaborations between 24 artist and scientist pairings.  We are riffing on the scientific work of Saket Navlakha (Assistant Professor, Integrative Biology Laboratory at Salk Institute) who uses algorithms to study similarities between biological and engineered networks.  One of his areas of study addresses the ambulation of bacteria as well as traffic patterns formed by humans as they travel.  Inspired by this work, we decided to create our own experiment by tracking museum visitors as they confront different art genres (eg. Painting, sculpture or digital works) within this exhibition.

The Klines and Saket Navlakha

The Klines and Saket Navlakha. Photo by Maurice Hewitt.



Extra-Ordinary Collusions Scientists

Extra-Ordinary Collusions Scientists













Our museum backgrounds play into the piece as we have watched visitors pass by significant artworks without breaking their gait.   A misperceived hierarchy of art exists which often influences which artworks are viewed and for how long.   The data collected will determine which genre is most highly attended.  Sixteen different types of works in this exhibition are monitored using human sensors.  The sensors are tripped when a person walks into the area surrounding an artwork.  Each visitor is then recorded via monitor in the Data Lounge of Mining a Museum: Finding Hierarchies.  The artists and their artworks are purposely not identified and only designated by a letter to maintain anonymity.



The Data Lounge includes videos of slime mold creating a network that eerily mirrors engineers designs of Toyko’s transit system.  Other videos show the pruning of neural pathways as we age, juxtaposed against a range of human activity from the chaotic traffic patterns of Hanoi, Vietnam to Pokemon Go stampedes.



3_DataLoungeVisitorsOur own work, Mining a Museum: Finding Hierarchies, has a sensor above it and is included in the data mining.  In the wide hierarchy of contemporary art, the complexity of conceptual art makes it difficult to keep the attention of viewers.  Recognizing this, we have created a comfortable lounge to entice visitors to stay long enough to take it all in, thus skewing the data.








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