Loss
‘Loss’ is a project that calculates the loss of electrical resistance from a decaying tree and generates a glitch in a digital image according to the amount of electrical resistance loss. This demonstrates the functional equivalence relation of two different phenomena, 'physical decay' and 'digital decay'.
physical entropy & digital entropy

… All that is necessary is that the entire situation — the speaker cum environment — be describable in some standardized language. … "Does a certain definable equivalence relation R (the relation of coreferentiality) hold between an element of the one situation and an element of the other?" States of different "machines" can lie in the same equivalence class under an arithmetical relation, and so can situations defined in terms of such states. … that they be equivalent under some equivalence relation which is itself computable, or at least definable in the language of computational theory plus physical science.

- Hilary, Putnam. Representation and Reality, Cambridge: MIT Press, 1988, 84-87

Putnam says the following about the possible conditions of functionalism in his book 'Representation and Reality’.

If the functions of different objects can be described in the same computational language (physics, mathematics) and proved to be the same function, then these two functions establish an equivalence relation.

These two phenomena, 'natural corruption of trees' and 'damage to digital images' belong to the same functional concept of 'loss of original data’. This function can be transformed into a digital signal, which is a computational language, and can be described as an 'increase of informational entropy’. Therefore, the function of these two different objects constitutes one equivalent relation under the concept of ‘loss'.

Data loss in flower

The electronic amplifier (AD620) measures minute electrical resistance from decaying plants. The measured electrical resistance is converted into digital signals. The amount of electrical resistance loss of a decaying plant is calculated using the electrical resistance value measured from a healthy plant for about a month. Glitch software, developed with OpenFrameWorks, damages pixel data inherent in digital images stored on the hard disk depending on the amount of electrical resistance loss.

All of the 784 photographs on the HDD are personal photos taken with an iPhone from 2013 to 2018, and the damaged images are then transferred back to the HDD. Eventually, the digital records lose their originality, just as decaying plants lose their own data.

Materials : wood, hard drive, monitor, raspberry pi 3, teensy board, custom circuit board, custom software

Developed at the University of the Arts Bremen