The Transparency of Randomness

Vera Tolazzi (AT), Mathias Gartner (AT)

The Transparency of Randomness gives insight into the world of randomness. In this interactive installation, visitors can directly experience the significance of the complex interplay of randomness and stochastics in current mathematical and physical research.

 

27 transparent boxes, floating in space, continuously generate random numbers by using the well-known medium of the dice. The process of random number generation is influenced by the complexity of nature and its structures, using a variety of natural materials. The ensemble of all generated random numbers forms the basis for a real-time calculation and generative graphics.

By using different materials, we integrate the complexity of nature into our otherwise rather technical installation. Each box contains a different material, we used cinnamon, moss, cotton, cork, and many other materials. Thus, the surfaces over which the dice are rolled have very specific structures. Here we focused on collecting materials with special haptic properties like soft, rough, edgy, or fluffy. In the box with cotton, the dice rolls very smoothly and silently, whereas when using cinnamon, the process of rolling the dice has a completely different characteristic.

 

The notion of real randomness is very interesting and the installation encourages visitors to think about it. Today’s physical theories about our world tell us that real randomness can be found in quantum mechanical systems—that is the world of small particles like single atoms or light particles called photons. In order to understand the properties of such systems, physicists use Monte Carlo methods based on random numbers.

 

Visitors can immerse themselves into the world of randomness, when wandering through the installation and observing the perpetual work of every individual box. They also have the opportunity to control one of the boxes by accessing a web-application on a smartphone and therefore become an active part of the installation with their self-generated random number.

The Transparency of Randomness gives insight into the world of randomness. In this interactive installation, visitors can directly experience the significance of the complex interplay of randomness and stochastics in current mathematical and physical research.

 

27 transparent boxes, floating in space, continuously generate random numbers by using the well-known medium of the dice. The process of random number generation is influenced by the complexity of nature and its structures, using a variety of natural materials. The ensemble of all generated random numbers forms the basis for a real-time calculation and generative graphics.

By using different materials, we integrate the complexity of nature into our otherwise rather technical installation. Each box contains a different material, we used cinnamon, moss, cotton, cork, and many other materials. Thus, the surfaces over which the dice are rolled have very specific structures. Here we focused on collecting materials with special haptic properties like soft, rough, edgy, or fluffy. In the box with cotton, the dice rolls very smoothly and silently, whereas when using cinnamon, the process of rolling the dice has a completely different characteristic.

 

The notion of real randomness is very interesting and the installation encourages visitors to think about it. Today’s physical theories about our world tell us that real randomness can be found in quantum mechanical systems—that is the world of small particles like single atoms or light particles called photons. In order to understand the properties of such systems, physicists use Monte Carlo methods based on random numbers.

 

Visitors can immerse themselves into the world of randomness, when wandering through the installation and observing the perpetual work of every individual box. They also have the opportunity to control one of the boxes by accessing a web-application on a smartphone and therefore become an active part of the installation with their self-generated random number.

www.veratolazzi.com/tor

Special thanks to our team members David Eilmsteiner, Andreas Ganhör, Michaela Haslhofer, Gabriel Häusler, and badcap.at.

With support from Land Oberösterreich and Johannes Kepler University Linz

Mathias Gartner (AT) lives and works in Linz. He is currently completing his doctoral studies at JKU at the Institute of Theoretical Physics, where simulations based on random numbers accompany his daily studies. The installation The Transparency of Randomness is an analogy to his work and shows the relevance of randomness in current research. Vera Tolazzi (AT) lives and works in Linz. She has a Master's degree in Visual Communication from the University of Art and Design Linz and is currently working as an interaction designer. The fusion of analog and digital media as well as experimenting with different materials plays an important role in her works.

Mathias Gartner (AT) lives and works in Linz. He is currently completing his doctoral studies at JKU at the Institute of Theoretical Physics, where simulations based on random numbers accompany his daily studies. The installation The Transparency of Randomness is an analogy to his work and shows the relevance of randomness in current research. Vera Tolazzi (AT) lives and works in Linz. She has a Master's degree in Visual Communication from the University of Art and Design Linz and is currently working as an interaction designer. The fusion of analog and digital media as well as experimenting with different materials plays an important role in her works.