On the eve of the announcement of the new line of Macbooks from Apple, I thought I would dedicate today's blog to the pioneer of computer science, Alan Turing. Without him, we wouldn't have had the breakthrough in personal computer technology. More than that, his work at Bletchley Park during the Second World War was responsible for breaking the Enigma code which helped the allies win the war (I would highly recommend watching the film "The Imitation Game" for the full story behind this).
A popular urban myth is that Steve Jobs was inspired by the story of Turin's death by biting into a cyanide-laced apple, which lead to the design of the iconic Apple logo. When actor Stephen Fry asked him if this was the case, Jobs simply replied, “God, we wish it were.”
So as a tribute to this great man, a new art installation was recently unveiled by United Visual Artists. Check it out below:
Curated by Futurecity and sited underneath a bridge near Paddington station in London, "Message from the Unseen World" runs the width of the underside of Bishop’s Bridge Road and is the result of a collaboration with poet and playwright, Nick Drake. As passersby walk alongside the installation, words spelled out in white LEDs seem to light up then fade away. Only by stepping back to take the whole piece in from a single viewpoint can visitors see the complete feed of Drake’s poem, which sees Turing speaking posthumously about his life – beginning with the line “This is Alan speaking”.
The text display is controlled by an algorithm that throws up combinations of letters and words – so the poem disintegrates and fractures as new words replace the previous ones. The holes for the LEDs also spell out a coded version of extracts from Turing’s text, Computing Machinery and Intelligence which was written in 1950 to determine a machine's ability to exhibit intelligent behaviour equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human.
I personally think that Turing would have approved of this work. It is a moving piece that provides a busy commuter passageway with an area for a moments pause for thought.