The Black Box project was undertaken by three collaborators in 2004. Three agents — Agent B: Rebecca Diederichs, Agent G: Gordon Hicks, and Agent S: Sally McKay — dropped objects into a predetermined system in order to see what would come out at the other end.

First the Heuristic Procedure for Generating Art Items was drafted and agreed upon. The process was simple. Each agent would put an object into a ziplock bag and give it to one of the others. Agents would then modify the objects they received, collect data by documenting the modified objects with photographs and notes, then pass the modified objects on again. Each agent was empowered to introduce new objects into the system at any time. Agents were able to split existing objects apart, which also resulted in the generation of new paths. Each agent could remove or “retire” any object at any time.

During the period of investigation, agents were not allowed to discuss the project with one another, nor to disclose any information about the objects inside the Black Box. At the end of the project all was revealed, and each agent drafted a report expressing their interpretation of the results.

The Black Box is now open. You can trace the complete data set plus view the project procedure and interpretation details.

Black Box – Sudbury installation

Installation view of Black Box data, Art Gallery of Sudbury, September 2005.