Spike
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Spike

plexiglas, steel,
miniature tableaux,
electronics, sound, video, rat.
44’ x 6’ x 4’.
1999

A plexiglas maze spanning four large tables encases a timeline of miniature tableaux. The scenes describe the history of how we came to conceive of ourselves as electrochemical entities. From Plato and Galen to transgenics and neural prosthetics, each scene is explained with text and image on accompanying building blocks. Electrochemistry becomes the theme that binds together our histories of war, drug abuse, healing, social priorities, creativity, inquisitiveness, and horror. The whole is at the mercy of a lone rat ("Spike") living in the maze. Over the course of the exhibit, the rat rewrites history, consuming and rearranging the individual elements. The hypnotic sound of a nerve cell spiking during a seizure can be heard in the background. Commissioned by Ars Electronica & the O.K. Center for Contemporary Art, Linz.


In Spike, the history leading to our current view of biology as electrochemically driven is explored. My intent is to analyze an ephemeral concept that, while often overlooked, has enormous significance for contemporary society. Spike traces the inventions, empirical practices, frames of mind, twists of fate, and creative insights that have brought us to our current electrified biological self-portrait.

time : 1'27

video stream