Who hasn’t had a brainache with maths at one time or another? This question came to mind when I was looking through the 250 or so discarded calculators from the Friedrich-List-Gymnasium in Reutlingen. The calculators may no longer work, but nowadays the enthusiasm for computers, statistical calculations and mathematics goes further than ever.
The title On Computable Numbers goes back to the influential publication by the mathematician Alan Turing from 1936. Therein he portrays a universal machine and with it provides a mathematical description of what today forms the basis of the computer. Moreover, Turing gave rise to the idea, still persisting today under the label of “artificial intelligence”, of applying numbers and other mathematical formalisations – products of the human brain – to reality, perceiving through them and shaping them in their image.
This opens up an image of the calculator or computer as a machine that comes closer to the human mind. In a totalitarian form, which understands reality as calculable information, tomorrow is drawn as a statistical extension of yesterday. Here and now, to the disenchantment of the followers of this mathematical mania, calculators are contrasted with this paradigm in their incalculability.
Installation at ‘Alten Spital’ in Viechtach as part of the exhibition COMMON SPACE: LAND – STADT.