After last weeks feedback session I sat down with my classmate Azelia who decided to join the project and discussed different aspects of the piece:
marbles or candles
During our conversation we talked about the role of marbles in visualizing the random process as a hint at infinity and spirituality. Azelia suggested to go even further and use candles for the visualization - I would love to build such a candle lighting machine, although I am aware of the issue of fire safety and possible misunderstanding when a candle is not lit up (audience might think the machine is not working correctly). So far we will stick to the marbles then and work on the mechanics of the machine to transport the marbles back after usage.
clean/minimalist looks vs unsettling traditional referrals to religion
We were as well discussing the possibility of using traditional materials and looks like in churches to create an unsettling atmosphere - like in installation pieces of Beuys or Schlingensief. We later decided for a more minimalist look with cast concrete and a granite stone in the middle (that will be a natural source of radiation for producing the random numbers).
flow of user/audience interaction
So far we are not sure what would be the best setup of the installation regarding the user interaction: The disconnect between the random guessing process that happens in some sort of "black box", the machine, and the ritual of putting the marbles with their hands on the concrete ring is still there. Azelia had the idea to activate each process via gaze tracking/user observation (which hints nicely at quantum mechanics where the particles fall into a definite state once they are observed which is the basis of the random guessing of the piece) - I think that is a great idea. It raises as well the question if the user should be part of the ritual afterwards or leave it with this ":gaze activation".
quantum computer or decay of radioactive particles
After some further research and experiments on the IBM quantum computer (which is very slow at the moment) I found another way to create real randomness with quantum processes locally: with a geiger counter connected to a raspberry pi measuring the decay of radioactive particles (e.g. a granite stone) - which is based on quantum mechanics as it is impossible to predict when specifically the particles will decay. This setup would be much more tangible for the audience the granite stone which is slightly radioactive could serve as the centerpiece of the installation. I am . not sure if the quantum computer can achieve the same presence.