The abacus is “perhaps the oldest continuously used calculating tool aside from fingers.” Simply: the abacus is a frame which holds rods of freely-sliding beads, and these beads represent digits which are manipulated to perform arithmetic.
Among the possible etymological origins of the word abacus: “a square tablet strewn with dust” or “sand used as a writing surface” — these meanings point to the mutable nature of the device. Beads are moved temporarily to denote positions of integers in the mind of the operator; a kind of tactile notation, as if the thought process were a snake moving through sand.
The blockchain permanently commits transactions to a ledger — one of the core value propositions of the technology, of course, is this immutability. To achieve it, miners compete to generate an acceptable hash. The process by which this occurs essentially boils down to “solving a complex mathematical problem,” though really what’s occurring is the solving of innumerable random simple problems.
The work Counting Frame is a semi-abstracted abacus which operates autonomously, continuously, and unceasingly, executing random basic arithmetic operations; silently moving through possible configurations as a monument to mutability.
Counting Frame builds upon previous works Lateral Crossing and N Seconds to Each Point, which lay out an animation framework and visual grammar.
The work ultimately takes the form of a web-accessible application and is compiled into a single HTML file.
About the artist
Damon Zucconi (b. 1985, Bethpage, NY) lives and works in New York. Zucconi works with custom software and scripts to create works which are typically accessible online. Lists, numeric sequences, simulations, words, calendars, books, images, and websites become materials. Forms are broken down and put back together in incorrect orders or with subtle modifications. By doing so, he shifts the emphasis to the processes used to create meaning, rather than the content of what a form might mean in and of itself. Recents solo exhibitions include: Lithromantic at VEDA, Florence (2020), Imagine a World Without You at JTT, New York (2019).
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