The error in the landscape
light, electronic timer
This sculpture was commissioned by Bloomberg Space in 2010, in a project curated by Vanessa Desclaux. It consists of an LED-light which was used to broadcast the two Morse-code signals for error from the top-floor balcony of Bloomberg’s London headquarters, simultaneously blending in with the city lights, and detaching itself from them with its purposeful irregularity. This piece broadcasts the two ways of communicating error in Morse: three short signals separated by long intervals or eight short signals in rapid succession. The syntax of a Morse-code message is determined by the intervals between signals. Both of these sequences read as errors by breaking with this syntax because their intervals are too long or too short. Yet they are also codified, and for that reason the very opposite of an actual error. This ambivalent interplay between error and code casts light on the symbiotic relationship between any normative structure and its exceptions. The passers-by that I overheard interpreted the insistent pulses of the sculpture, reminiscent of an emergency signal light, either as a malfunction or as an alien intrusion, both alternate definitions of error.
This work was subsequently reinstalled in France, at La Ferme du Buisson, in the spotlight that illuminates the façade of the institution at night. It was also reinstalled in Geneva, for an exhibition titled Theater of Operations, curated by Emile Ouroumov, Bénédicte le Primpec, and Céline Bertin. On that occasion, the timimg mechanism was installed in the exterior neon sign of the theater in which the exhibition was held.