RISK is a mutli-screen video piece for the exhibition Quantified Self. The exhibition featured work by artists who have developed new work using shimmer technology, a small wireless sensor platform that can record and transmit physiological and kinematic data in real-time. The exhibition was presented as part of Innovation Dublin 2011in association with Shimmer Research, the leading provider of wearable wireless sensors in the world.
Risk developed out of a residency in The Leitrim Sculpture Centre in Manorhamilton. My work is often developed from research into our built environment. Leitrim has the highest number of ghost estates in the country and the centre of the town of Manorhamilton is marred by an unfinished development that was to generate a new commercial and residential centre for the town. During my time there I met one of the developers of this failed project who owes over €10 million to the bank. I grew interested in the people who have taken these risks in society; what kind of people are they and what is their relationship to risk? I was interested in the comparative potential of the shimmer technology and how I might plot or compare my performance of risk against these entrepreneurs of society.
Jay Bourke (restaurateur and hotelier), Simon Kelly (developer) and Goff Lalor (Investor/developer) are all Dublin based business people who have won and lost financially during the boom and bust of the Irish economy. This artwork engages with how these people respond to risk-taking. It considers entrepreneurship and the gamble that is taken to generate business in the economy. For this work the participants and the artist played a game of Texas Hold ‘Em poker. Quite often poker is about bluffing, sizing up your competition and betraying nothing during the game. Texas Hold ‘Em is characterized by a greater number of opportunities to bet or raise the stakes as the cards are revealed over the course of a hand. In many cases the game is won or lost on the last card turned.
During the game the players were monitored with a shimmer device that tracked their stress levels using GRS (galvanic skin response, which is used in lie detection tests). The data was recorded and translated into movement through a sculptural work consisting of a chair on the end of a diving board. This image comes from a site specific work made for Manorhamilton called Disappointed Bridge, which was sited hovering from the 2nd floor of the unfinished building. The chair moves according to how each person respond- ed to the game. The chair references the human scale of the risk, the person that takes this leap into the void. This more poetic representation is played alongside documentation of the game, juxtaposing the internal response of the participants with the outward projection of the players during the game.
Measurement design: Karol O’Donovan
Chair movement software and hardware design: Florin Stroiescu