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Click here for larger image of The Thinker (After Rodin), 2001 and Studio Wall DrawingsClick for larger image

The Thinker (After Rodin), 2001 and Studio Wall Drawings by Keith Tyson

39 quasi-scientific paintings and drawings. Musing on the meaning of life, surrounding a twelve foot high black column filled with whirling computers. A hexagonal structure, The Thinker 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."

It is part of a series entitled "The Seven Wonders of the World".

"That is a series of works that relate to things I find wonderous. I wanted to make works that were not illustrative of some scientific or philosophical theory but embodied it - were in fact the actual theory made manifest. The Thinker really thinks, and is thought. The fact that human beings have reached a stage where they can find a mathematical methodology for creating thought itself, and that we can comprehend our own existence, are some of the things I am trying to manifest in this work. It also relates to this idea that we can never actually prove what the internal dialogue of another human being actually is. It's about the way in which everybody's universe is impenetrable, and the way everyone who thinks has their own separate universe."
Artist:Keith Tyson
Artwork type:installation
Material:The Thinker: enamel sprayed aluminium, steel, computers, software. Studio Wall Drawings: All mixed media on paper
Measurements:The Thinker: 3000 x 1250 x 1100 mm Studio Wall Drawings: 1570 x 1260 mm
Rights owner:Keith Tyson
Rights status:UK HE use only
Institution:University of Brighton
Notes:Installation view, Venice Biennale, 2001

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