Reactive Monument

by Nick Calvero

At some intersection in a future city there should be a new kind of sculpture -- something that inspires with its mystery the way that statues used to inspire in simpler times. This work should be utterly complex on the inside, yet retain a relatively simple exterior. Instead of something stationary and fixed, it should be changing continuously and have behavior.

This rotating, ticking, steaming, interlocking, retrieving, storing, vibrating, sculpture should have at its core a computer that runs multiple algorithms at once. Each algorithm should be designed by a mathematical genius with the goal of producing something so obscure and complicated that it would take supercomputers to be able to predict its next course of action.

The behavior of the sculpture should not be completely random, however. It should take its cues from sound, the weather, light, temperature, wind, and perhaps even the number of times that kill or murder appear in headlines. It should have a kind of artificial intelligence and we should be able to turn to it in dark times and see that it too is cowering. On a beautiful day, it should spread itself out to collect as much sun as possible.

There should be a series of drawers that open and close at unknown intervals. A door should open and a passerby could throw inside a note, a newspaper, an old cell phone, whatever they want -- and then the door shuts, not to open again for 100 years. Other drawers might open once a week.

One day you may be walking by and it trumpets a strange cacophony at you. Sometimes it should be shy, and other days playful and gregarious. It should have 1,000 inputs and another 1,000 outputs. It should be able to change its own appearance and choose never again to look a certain way.

About Blueprints>>

In this issue:


THE Philosophy of Navigation

New Black Towers: A history in 10 chapters

Where Has It Gone?


Free Lunch

Reactive Monument


The Banality of Disbelief

4D Document

Investigating time and space

Previous Editions

July 2007

About the Moon

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