Jan De Cock, Frank Raes & David Surprenant

Resistance Transistor

In the framework of the Scientist in Residence Programme, artist Jan de Cock has invited climatologist Frank Raes and interactive developer David Surprenant to his studios in Brussels and Torino for a new collaboration. Their project, Resistance Transistor, lies at the crossroad between an artwork, a design product and a technological device. Currently at the stage of a prototype, it will be further developed until its presentation at Ars Electronica and BOZAR in September 2020.

While climate changes used to occur within thousands of years, they are now taking place at the level of decades. Yet they are still too slow for humans to be fully aware of them. The Resistance Transistor, or R.T., – referring to both the project and the device – has been created with the purpose of reuniting humans with nature in the resistance against climate change. It aims at making us grasp how fast these changes actually are by bringing to our perspective the long-term history of the Earth.

Thus, the R.T. is a device that takes humans on a journey deeper and deeper in the scales of time. Small and made to be transported, equipped with a screen and a GPS, the R.T. creates an interactive experience in which the users are guided towards several trees, rocks or even glaciers around the world, specifically chosen by the artist. When the user come close, the R.T. connects to these natural actors and allows to create an exchange of data, in the form of sounds, texts and visuals.

All these data are being processed by algorithms to provide highly dynamic and adaptable content. The users may learn, for example, what was the temperature on the day they were born, or discover how sustainable their actions are in comparison to previous users.

Eventually, the R.T. takes the users as far back in the memory of the Earth as 65 million years ago, when radical climate changes provoked the great extinctions. What if this would happen again, due to human activity, this time ? Speaking on behalf of all the beings on the planet, the R.T. asks: “Do you care?”

Meeting 1, Brussels – May 2018

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Pictures: Victor Rahman

Meeting 2, Ivrea (IT) – September 2018

Museum for Art, Architecture and Technology, Lisbon (PT)
Exhibition For A Brave New Brussels – October 2018