Tim Plaisted 2005
Original Exhibition Proposal
My work is looking to contrast the idea of progress from enlightenment and space race eras with the contemporary mainfestation of the progress bar which I charcterise as an unstable indicator of time. I will compare these different interpretations of time in my works.
Progress (enlightenment understanding) is a relatively recent concept. Pre-enlightenment and early christians did not have need of the concept. In their understanding of time, they expected the world to end in their lifetimes. Progress as an understanding of people working together, gaining knowledge for the betterment of humanity, only started to make sense as the centuries passed and the fear lost currency.
The progress bar is used to give visual feedback of the progress of a measurable task. It becomes an unstable indicator of estimated completion time as it is constantly re-evaluated to reflect the processes and influences effecting them. It became an untrusted or unreliable indicator when software processes would give widely different estimates at different times eg. jumping straight to 80% completed and then struggling to complete the last 20% (eg. software installation, downloading music and movies.)
1. Progress (Unilateral Patch) measures time until an imminent end. A software patch runs on the computer doing a text search and replace. There is a visual representation of the patching, the files being patched and a progress bar to indicate percentage of file patched, speed, number of files remaining etc. There is also a blindfold hanging from the side of the screen. The viewer has to don the blindfold and guess when the progress bar will be at a certain percentage or speed. The screen will temporarily freeze at this point for the viewer to take off the blindfold and confirm if the progress bar has reached this point. This runs until the computer corrupts it's software and crashes.
2. Progress (Terra).. same patching process is applied to a progression of satellite map images tracing the War in Iraq. This will move across the country following the campaign from the incursion to it's current location over the period of the show.
The tech in these works is also packaged as a browser extension which the public can install, to patch web pages as they are viewed; democratising the web, one page at a time.
3. Progress (2004) Instead of having two of the iMacs with blindfolds running Unilateral Patch, the third iMac displays an individual and relatively unmarked progress bar which remotely monitors the other 2 works.
Other components Aside from the browser extension of Progress (Unilateral Patch), I developed some other works around Progress bars, including multiple ports of the Progress software (simple progress bar) into different languages and devices.
IPOD charging progress bar
Firefox Browser extension.. Runs Unilateral Patch on images in page.
Thanks to the vuspace, Mathew Fletcher, Beth Jackson, Jemima Wyman, Christopher Howlett, Nick Lee.