The Thinker (After Rodin), 2001
Locations: London, Tate Britain, Venice Biennale
Processes / Materials: aluminium, custom electronics, led display, software, steel
Type of Client: Artist
A twelve foot high hexagonal column emits an electronic hum generated by the bank of computers inside. The computers are set to operate for 33,000 years with an LED display counting the seconds up to 76.5 years (the average human lifespan).
Tyson said it was his take on sculptor Rodin’s famous piece, The Thinker.
“The Thinker is a twelve foot high black column that houses a series of computers inside it, running an artificial life programme which has been programmed in such a way that it evolves. There is no physical manifestation of the fact that it is thinking, and I’m fascinated by the idea that when you come across it you have a thing that is thinking but which is impenetrable – that you can’t get within its skin. Once the thing sets off, I can predict that it’s thinking for about half an hour but after that I’ve got no idea – so I’m as much in the dark as everyone else as to what it’s actually thinking about.”