The Known Unknowns
"The Known Unknowns" is an installation about randomness by Steffen Fiedler & Jonas Loh.
The Known Unknowns investigates if
randomness exists and what it means to
us. We are attempting to generate random
numbers using cosmic rays and
radioactive particle detection, both of
which are currently unpredictable and
irreproducible events. The aim is to look for ways to apply
this randomness in a society that
renounces deterministic beliefs.
By developing three devices which are generating random numbers based on cosmic rays, radioactive radiation and wind, we propose to establish a relationship to the natural chaos and see it as something valuable which can be harvested for later usage. This first part of the project focuses on the generation of random numbers using two different seeds:
The Random Event Harvester
is based on a Geiger counter that notices radioactive particles,
producing a bitstream that is afterwards converted in real numbers.
It's characteristic of being portable allows collecting random numbers
in the environment and store them with associated geographical
The Cosmic Ray Detection Chamber is inspired by current approaches to generate true rather than pseudo random numbers: Particle movement is tracked on a quantum physics level. The design is based on a cloud chamber that visualises tracks of cosmic rays that are energetic charged subatomic particles that originate from outer space. These tracks are then used to generate random values.
(short from the artists' websites)