My "products" are things I make under the guise of World Power Systems, a vague and dubious entity of uncertain means.




Cold War

Atomic Number Generator

A the very dawn of electronic computing machinery, 1948, the Rand Corporation built an electronic machine with which to generate the contents of a book, titled´┐ŻgOne Million Random Digits and 100,000 Normal Deviates. The book is a large mathematical table, rigorously proven, perversely or hilariously, to contain absolutely no information -- an anti-table. Instructions for its use read like a card...

Cold war collages

Framed collections of debris from early nuclear industry and science. #1 is internally lit with an AR-1 argon (UV) lamp and various small neon indicator lamps, controlled by a mercury tilt switch and brass control rod. Mixed media (Wood, glass, iron, paper, ferrites, electronic components, shellac) , 24"w x 18"d x 4"h, approx. 6 lb. each ...

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EDE: portrait of Edward Teller

"He's a danger to all that is important. I really do think it would have been a better world without Teller" -- physicist I. I. Rabi, 1973. A sad and not very good portrait of an unfortunate person, Ede (his first name by birth) Teller has grown up to be one of the world's biggest liabilities. His story is long, his distinguishing features extinguished by his fear-driven and selfish impulses....

Encapsulated Landscapes

These are part of an as-yet indeterminate series, each describing peculiar, little-seen and hidden-away uses of the earth. Built into new 1950 brown Bakelite instrument cases, each contains layers of information; the windowed cover tilts up to reveal an etched brass panel with inscription encircling the electro-phosphorescent-illuminated chamber holding the landscape. Dim, yellowed lamps inside t...

Gas Tube Number Generator

(25 July 2012 page under construction; images are temporary, machine is not complete) Randomness isn't a property of anything. It isn't part of nature; it's a made-up human "problem". Any consensus of what constitutes a definition of "random" is local to some particular discipline that needs it. The whole business is a bit disturbing. For a taste of this, check out this Wikipedia entry on rando...

Story Teller

Story Teller is a self-contained but ever-expanding system for, well, telling stories, which are stored as rows of tiny holes in long spools of paper tape. The stories are on a wide range of subjects, but they are all about text, mediation, representation and deconstruction. An appropriate example is the story of Alan Turing, written for OUTWEST (Plan B Evolving Arts, Santa Fe NM, 1999). Turing,...





Products

Model 11 Clock

Model 11 Nixie Clocks are the most straightforward instruments in the WPS lineup, beautiful and exotic, obsolete yet completely practical. They are built around the wonderfully obsolete Burroughs Corp. "NIXIE" numeric display device. Introduced in 1952, they quickly became the most common numeric display device in laboratory/industrial equipment until they were instantly forgotten in the early 19...

Model 13 Clock

The Model 13 is a one of a kind clock, partially a design study in the use of an analog D'Arsonval meter movement for information display. The Model 13's cabinet is a General Electric portable laboratory AC voltmeter, available from the late 1930's through the mid-1950's. The original meter movement was retained, and the meter card recalibrated with scales necessary to display time and date. The ...

Model 17 Audible Detector

This is the second WPS product. Initially considered a failed project, it seems to have warmed with time's passing. It has a funerary feel to me; the cast stainless steel ear, lined with dog's hair, painted with Glyptal, faint ivy patterning in corroded copper and tin, emanates sounds at once organic and mechanical issuing from it's hairy ear/throat. A single large, unmarked knob hopefully invit...

Model 23 Trinitite Box

This is was first WPS product. The heart of the device is a tiny diorama, water colors on lead, with a reactor-shielding lead glass window, revealing a view, north and east, from the stolen McDonald Ranch, towards the Oscura Mountains, not quite north enough to encompass the Trinity Site; the soil and rock in the foreground is a recently-native form of man-made rock called trinitite. It is mildly...

Model 3 Tape reader Completed September 1999

The Model 3 Tape Reader reads perforated tape and sends the information on to other devices that speak and print. A tape is mounted on one side, and spools to the other as it is read. It is a pleasure to use; small, dense, dark oiled oak and Micarta, soft clucking as it reads a tape; you can literally feel the data on your finger tips, as the tape pulls through your fingers. The Model 3 Tape Rea...

Model 31 Vocalizer

The Model 31 Vocalizer is a component of the Story Teller federation; it utters speech when provided with a stream of encoded phonemes, usually, but not necessarily, from a long reel of perforated paper tape. The Model 31 Vocalizer speaks English phonemes, words, sentences, and programmatic gibberish. In oak, Micarta and brass, it utters speech and sounds in a clear but often unintelligible voic...

Model 47 Trinity Diorama

A measurable analog of the Trinity Site and surrounding area, as it appeared shortly after 6 July 1945. As is well known, land may tell many stories; but in this case only two can be found embedded in the landscape-analog, using the attached probe. The analogy is reasonably accurate, as indicated on the legend; 1 mile absolute, ½ mile relative, no vertical scale. The history of this site w...

Story Teller

Actually, this is a boring device. It's an integral part of the Story Teller system, and is quite useless without it. Left to itself, the Story Teller would merrily read it's paper tape and perform the story, clattering and yacking away until the tape ran out, as it is supposed to. But in an art gallery that's not practical, as I quickly found out; it annoys the staff, and no one wants to consta...

Model 71 Measuring Device

The instruction card attached to this instrument says it best: "The Model 71 is a portable standard for calibrating once-living and non-living organic substances. It accepts a wide range of inputs and may be used with a minimum of surveillance... Only a small quantity [of the organism] is needed; a small portion may be removed with little harm to the subject." While the Model 71 performs its in...

Regenerator

The Regenerator is a subtle and difficult machine for communicating with entities, real and unfortunately sometimes imagined. It requires Patience and Skill to operate, and a good ear, but can extract audible energies (real, physical ones) from the aether using the controls provided. The electronic machinery within uses only the most modern subminiaturized vacuum state components, and is there...

Alan Turing made flat

I thought it fitting to re-render Alan Turing's official portrait algorithmically, with what is essentially a state machine, a subset of a turing machine. Lo, I've made turing recursive, I like to think he'd find that annoyingly funny. (The phrase turing machine is properly lower-cased above; one of the highest honors a mathematician can acheive is to become part of the mathematical lexicon.) ...

Carbon Dioxide Camp's Time Travel Booth

Though I list it here on WPS, this was in fact a completely collaborative project; artists in four cities across the U.S. made substantial contributions. The booth was assembled for the first time on the playa, Burning Man 2009. It was our camp's theme that qualified us for placement. It was wildly successful, open to random passers-by on the street, and ran reliably unattended for most of a week....





Sound

pareidoliac

13 january 2015 new oct 2012 a sequence, repeated, becomes a pattern ... the endlessly-repeating sequence of arbitrary color rotating past the sensor-arm is stochastically mapped to musical notes. we hear evolving melody, where there is none. pareidoliac is a machine/system that translates color to MIDI notes; a color sensor on the end of the arm samples whatever color is under it, four times ...

pixel eye

Pixel Eye was built for my Rocks and Code installation. It's sole purpose is to provide visitor-reactive waves of ambient simulated Geiger counter sound over the installation. A slow surge of activity revolves around the room through four loudspeakers hidden in the installation, triggered by an optical device within Pixel Eye, which is placed in an unobtrusive place within the installation, yet e...

singing wire

meh. this was an experiment -- actually, the repeat of an experiment i did about 20 years ago -- a taut wire as the resonant element in an electronic feedback loop. as kludgey as the setup looks, it's mechanically very stable. too stable, in fact, as the previous experiment had all sorts of interesting characteristics that this experiment revealed as a likely due to a lack of stiffness in the orig...





Uncategorized

Discorporate spell box

This is a mildly threatening device for focusing energy on our corporate enemies. Assembled from the detritus of a century of terrible industries with inhuman side effects, it contains a spare and brutal beauty; the right side emits energetic particles at a noticable rate, the left side emits one to seven heavy neutral particles per day (estimated). In the center a distilled chromium electrode st...

I WANT TO BELIEVE (MAYBE)

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Computer music system for my 1970 AMC Hornet

(2009 note: I abandoned this project after three years of work; the software and hardware worked great, but the power supplies kept popping and at $100 each, it was too much. They're clearly not designed to deal with the load dumps caused by older American cars. I assume they test on little Hondas and the like.) To be blunt modern car stereos are not only crap, they're a total rip-off. Like sheep...

The Wilderness Machine

I made, with major contributor Brett Doar, the Wilderness Machine for Chris Milk's The Wilderness Downtown movie, part of a project for the band Arcade Fire. More information will appear here later. Temporary overview (I evolve web stories slowly over time; this is basically a document and it takes a while to develop the text.) The Machine ends up with a subset of the handwritten c...

sound boxen

this is an expansive series of projects all spring from the same code base. what all have in common is the idea of a self-contained sound-producing box that can also communicate via Flock or Peep protocols. some have battery and solar power and power management for use in remote, unattended installations. at the moment none have sensors but environmentally-triggered flocking behavior is the goal. ...