Video Documentation, 2016

Random Access Memory - Machine view, 2016
Random Access Memory - Detail, 2016
Random Access Memory - Layout, 2016
Random Access Memory - Layout, 2016
Random Access Memory - Layout, 2016
Installation view at Kunstverein am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin 2016
Random Access Memory - Geomantic figures, 2016
Random Access Memory - Software Screenshot, 2016
Geomantic figures and software screenshot

Time-Leapse, 2016

Random Access Memory


Random Access Memory is a fully functional digital memory. Instead of operating on semiconducting components to represent either the binary states of 0 (zero) or 1 (one), the memory uses grains of sand as storage material. Sand grains can be read, placed or removed on a rotating disc by a three axis pick and place mechanism combined with a microscope camera to track the position of a single sand grain. This memory mechanism is prone to errors thru misreadings, bouncing grains and other imponderabilities.

Furthermore the machines performs a computational process on this memory. The algorithm, executed on the sand grains, is a so called Turmite, a two dimensional operating Turing Machine. It’s only goal it is to write as many 1’s (stones) as possible in the memory and to avoid a termination, following a strict rule. This process emerges complex and repetitive pattern on the disc. R A M investigates the contrast of a “pure” mathematical process (algorithm) and its “impure” material implementation into the world.

Random Access Memory reflects on the interaction of idea and matter and their encounter in contemporary information technology. It forms some kind of hybrid between contemporary and an ancient technology. Computing with sand, Geomancy or ‛ilm al-raml (science of the sand) is an old arabic divination technique based on sand grains, or other geological material, that were “casted” on a plane surface. A strict set of rules, recursively applied on the grains get condensed in order to gain knowledge about the future. Nowadays boolean algebra is inscribed into thin layers of purified silicon, another geological material, in order to execute complex simulations like weather prediction on it.

Materials: aluminium profiles, stepper motors, quarz sand, custom pick and place mechanism, custom electronics, microscope camera, custom software
Produced with support of the Graduate School of the University of the Arts, Berlin with support of the Einstein Foundation.