Speed of Thinking
February 13 - March 24 2019
Reception and Panel Wednesday, February 13 5-7pm.
Created by North Carolina-based art team Joelle Dietrick and Owen Mundy, The Speed of Thinking is the title of a mobile game about global trade and an exhibition of the collaborative artwork from which the project evolved.
The game The Speed of Thinking is about global trade systems so complex that they feel out of control. The game focuses on a teetering balance of both childlike amusement and lingering chaos.
Game play is simple: the player controls a cargo ship to catch containers on its deck. The containers begin to collect in dense, Jenga-like structures that shift in hue as they pile. The constant color change adds a childlike wonder that emphasizes the pleasure of play over building the tallest structure. This aspect then turns to chaos as the player realizes the game is never-ending and eventually crashes. During game play, data from The Observatory of Economic Complexity from the MIT Media Lab scrolls on the side, listing products based on past patterns of trade. Begun in Hamburg, the location of 2016 G20 summit, the game creates a snapshot of today’s current trade and global systems and their acceptance of unpredictable human impact.
Earlier artworks in the exhibition similarly represent systems in states of transition. These include Grid, Sequence Me and 1.5 x 3.5, which are generative animations from a previous series called Packet Switching. The artworks visualize architecture as fragments affected by economic and communications systems, which reference how digital communication breaks files into smaller manageable blocks of data called packets. Each packet is then sent through a network, taking the quickest route possible, and reassembled at their destination. The works show these blocks of data in their disassembled form in space.
The exhibition also includes Falling Containers, a study in preparation for The Speed of Thinking, and Product Monsters, animated products from the shipping containers presented as gifs. All the works together create a sense of both chaos and wonderment as the projections surround the viewer.
Funded by Davidson College, the North Carolina Arts Council, the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and The MacDowell Colony.