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SCOUT - Sentient Co-realtor Of Urban Transaction


A permanent large scale public art sculpture commissioned by Cooper and Co. in conjunction with the Britomart Arts Trust on the site of Tukutai Square, Britomart, Auckland.

The essence of the idea for SCOUT comes from the short story by Arthur C Clarke The Sentinel, which he wrote in 1948 and later developed into 2001 A Space Odyssey. Gruchy is very interested in intelligence, not just human intelligence but how intelligence evolves and may be distributed through the universe. SCOUT seeks to hone our awareness towards a broader understanding of sentience and intelligence beyond just the human condition

 Behaviour is regarded as a strong indicator of intelligence. Social behaviour or the hive mind is an area of growing scientific interest. We often imbue technology with the quality of intelligence, while the pursuit of artificial intelligence has long been a driver in the evolution of computing. The growing complexity of computers and software leads inevitably to the notion of the singularity, a point somewhere in the future when computer intelligence surpasses the capacity of the human mind. SCOUT both monitors behaviour and exhibits a behaviour of its own.

 He posits SCOUT as a benevolent, non-human intelligent entity that engages with its environment and the people within it, transacting in the urban space. It exchanges with individuals and groups of people through sight, sound and haptics. It monitors the environmental conditions in the square - the seasons, time of day, temperature, humidity, brightness and rainfall - feeding back into the square through light, sound and image.  It also alludes to an understanding of dynamic systems and interactions that form life. Analysing data, processing artificial life algorithms and exploring bio morphologic transitions, SCOUT translates and combines incoming information that in turn influences its own behaviour. Though at times demonstrative, its intrinsic mode is as a calming presence within the urban-scape. SCOUT has arrived and is now a part of the urban transaction in Takutai Square.

Tim Gruchy : concept, design, programming, visuals

Tim and James Pinker : sound

LED video display, LED strip light, touch screen, speakers, microphone, video camera, environmental sensors, networked computers, audio and media servers, generative computer programme in glass, compressed fibreboard and steel shell.



SCOUT, – via Vimeo