This Much I'm Worth
This Much I'm Worth (A self-evaluating artwork) | 2014 - Ongoing | Digital - Neon, Cold Cathode,Electronics and WIFI | 60cmx60cm x23cm ( 23"x23"x 9")
Main Prize Winning Work of the International Aesthetica Art Prize 2016
“This much I’m worth [A self-evaluating Artwork]” is a digital art piece that continually displays its sale value. It is constructed with materials that have a history loaded with association. Implicated in the history of neon is its use in the sex trade, its cultural significance today is more commonly a trope of contemporary art. It is both a functional object and spectacle seeking to question values and worth.
The artwork is connected to the internet and so becomes part of the world wide web. Feeding galley and location data via its sensors to the Internet (Internet of Things) and extracting and displaying its calculated value.
Complex algorithms called "endorsers" run nightly on external servers using the data gathered together with extensive data mining from the media and internet to reevaluate the work. The endorsers then post the new value back to the Internet of Things overnight where it is then retrieved and displayed by the artwork.
This piece will openly show its value, but the algorithm that the “endorsers” use is not public knowledge.
This is a prototype - a work in progress. I like to see this work as ongoing research, as time changes, data gathers, more analysis is done and questions change.
Nothing is fixed.
This is a one page user guide to the piece that is used for installation and testing.
A fuller User and Installation guide is available on request. (47 Pages)
Extra Notes on Construction
In terms of aesthetics, the neon design for the piece was reproduction of a sex shop sign in Soho, London .. which also draws on my concerns about the value placed on women in our society.
Nixie lights were used for the digits on the prototype. They are very visually engaging lights that are constructed from cold cathode tubes with stacked digits. The main concept behind the use of Nixie lights came from their use in old calculation devices. Nixie lights were probably last broadcast in the countdown sequence of the famous 70s TV series “The six million dollar man”.
In terms of construction – I tend to construct my own work instead of outsourcing ie. I soldered all the circuit boards, programmed the endorsers and microprocessors etc.… It took about 4 months to construct with lots of tests and prototyping. It’s a very international hybrid construction with components sourced from parts all over the world including USA, Ukraine, France, UK and China.
More in depth explanation:
- When switched on the work will show its value.
- Where WIFI is available it will collect its value hourly from “The internet of Things” and display it. It will also collect sensor information every 15 minutes and send it to “The Internet of Things”. (e.g amount of time being observed, duration etc..)
- Where WIFI is not available it will collect its value from an SD card inserted in the black box that can be updated manually.
- When there is movement in the room, or the piece is approached then the value will change by an nominal amount.
- When the piece is unattended the value will drop slowly by a nominal amount.
More in depth explanation:
- The “black box” located under the neon contains electronics and microprocessors that control the sensors and Nixie lights. [This includes an Arduino Mega, WIFI Board, Nixie PCB, Ultrasonic, Temperature, PIR Sensors and various other components.]
- There is a button on the side that sets the mode of operation. This is to cater for galleries that do not have WIFI and to aid installation and troubleshooting.
- The piece collects its value from “The Internet of Things” and posts the data that it collects from the gallery.
- This information can be available from an internet portal (see below), that is currently being expanded to produce data visualizations and can be used for monitoring.
- Changes in value can trigger Tweets. [These can be customised]
- The complex algorithms which I call “The endorsers” are not run on the piece itself, but on external servers that look at the collected data (this has little influence) and data mines various information from multiple sources to currently arrive at a nightly value.