X
Acryllic, brass, pewter, microprocessor, LED, photo sensor, servo
8”x 8”x 8”
2008

is a circuit designed to illustrate the concept behind the Schrödinger's cat thought experiment.

 

The LED remains in on position. The CDS cell, that is positioned directly opposite of the LED is calibrated to trigger the servo if it receives at least as much light as is generated by the LED.  Once the servo is triggered the Basic Stamp randomizes the amount of turn that the servo will rotate.  The servo could turn only a small fraction of a turn or rotate over half of a rotation.  Given this erratic and unpredictable turning it is next to impossible to predict when the arm (which is no wider than the LED) will come to rest between the LED and the CDS cell.  When this position is reached the LED will no longer send enough light to the photo sensor, which will stop triggering the servo to rotate and the circuit will “die” in the sense that it will reach a permanent state of rest.

This series of actions all occurs with the lid of the work closed.  If the viewer wishes to see if the work has ceased to function, then they must open the box.  However, when this happens in the lit space of the gallery the CDS cell will receive the ambient light from its environment and the process begins again.  In this way the work illustrates how our own attempts to understand a mystery can serve to render that mystery unknowable.