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This Sculpture Simulates Politics with Angry, Indecipherable Beeping

Two suited "speaking" figures—with prisms for heads—feature in Georgios Cherouvim's interactive installation, 'Debate.'

Images courtesy of the artist

Georgios Cherouvim's interactive installation, Debate, features a simple on-stage conversation between two suited figures. The scene isn't too different from your average political debate or town hall meeting, save for two major exceptions: the figures have giant, flashing, geometric heads, and they only talk in R2-D2 style beeps and bloops.

Another difference between the Debate installation and an actual political debate are that the figures are actually plastic mannequins, animated by an Arduino micro-controller with a custom "conversation"-simulating program. Empty prisms, rectangular and triangular, respectively, serve as the debators' heads, emitting strings of algorithmically simulated "conversation" based on parameters like how long one has been "listening" to the other, how recently there was any silence, and the last time it just flat out "ignored" the other speaker.

"The act never reaches a conclusion and it is performed in a non-deterministic way," Cherouvim told The Creators Project. "Their language is incomprehensible, causing the viewer to lose interest in the conversation and politics all together." In Cherouvim's opinion, not much separates his programmable plastic sculptures from the civil servants they emulate, after all.

The installation was inspired by a GIF Cherouvim made named Spokesman, which depicts the suited, titular character behind a podium, his triangular head flashing as meaninglessly as any fluffy political speech.

Debate premiered at Cherouvim's first solo exhibition, Monomorphia, in Athens, Greece. The show included several other works inspired by the aesthetic of the Spokesman GIF, including photography, dance, and stone carvings. Check out some behind-the-scenes images and video from Debate below, and visit the Monomorphia website to see more artworks Cherouvim included alongside the installation.

Debate, 2014, light & sound installation - mixed media, electronics, programming

Debate, 2014, light & sound installation - mixed media, electronics, programming

Debate, 2014, light & sound installation - mixed media, electronics, programming

Debate, 2014, light & sound installation - mixed media, electronics, programming (naked figures)

Debate, 2014, Both units complete

Debate, 2014, Module installed

Debate, 2014

Visit Cherouvim's website to look through more of his sculptures and installations.

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