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gnonom (no'mon), n. 1. an early astronomical instrument consisting of a vertical shaft, column, or the like, for determining the altitude of the sun or the latitude of a position by mesuring the length of it's shadow cast at noon. 2. the raised part of a sundial that casts the shadow; a style. 3. Geom. the part of a part of a parallelogram that remains after a similar parallelogram has been taken away from one of it's corners. [ L: pin of a sundial Gk: one who knows, inspector]

GNOMON

An Installation by Tom Bonauro and the Interim Office of Architecture

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art August 29 - December 1 1996


Gnomon, a collaborative intallation and continuing event by the Interim Office of Architecture and Tom Bonauro. The event will explore how the elusive space of projection is grounded in reality of construction. By simultaneously exploring the ephemeral realms constructed by memory projections, these artist will construct a richly allusive space that exists in a space that is neither inside or outside of the Museum, a space that spins away from the familiar into speculative space, and a space that perhaps can never be known. This open space will be grounded in devices for measuring, evaluating and reproducing the phenomena of the real world. These instruments will be foregrounded in the exhibition space itself so that they cut through the anonymous space in which art is usually framed. The speculative spaces will spin out from the "gnomons" or devices for capturing information, rather than from art objects. The act of figuring out the world through technology will become the art object itself.

[ L: pin of a sundial Gk: one who knows, inspector ]

A variety of sensors will constantly search the environment, inferred sensors will sense the presence of visitors and the Gnomon will react with interest or banality to the visitor depending on it's current equation. For a single visitor it might seek out and inspect or seduce interaction from the visitor. A small group or pack may generate a reactive defensive behavior and a crowd might shut the Gnomon down into a shelled posture of defense, or at any moment it could react radically with thrashing intimidating movement and lighting. Ultra sonic sensors will be it's conscious and prevent the Gnomon from hitting any one or crushing anyone against the wall but will also judge the movement and character of the visitor. Fast action or casual action will give the Gnomon different stimuli to process and react to.

3. Geom. the part of a part of a parallelogram that remains after a similar parallelogram has been taken away from one of it's corners.

The Gonom is the space that is left on the outside of it's self. Not the object that is in the gallery room but everything else. This space will have influence on the visitor physically by the generation of harmonic envelopes of cancellation and amplification. The visitor will have to choose which experience it is interested in and the Gonom will shift and give the visitor the probing experience it wants to give. The Gonom functions on bottom up logic or fuzzie logic, it is constantly learning from the space around it and the visitors or lack of visitors. The constant array of sensors and a GPS or Global Positioning System will keep the the Gonom constantly thinking and searching.

2. the raised part of a sundial that casts the shadow; a style.

Civil GPS has a one hundred yard drift to it which could be eliminated if the Military was willing to deregulate the politics of the technology. As it is the Gomon is destined to constantly drift and try to redefine it's place on the planet. It knows about where it is but by the culture it lives in, it is prevented from knowing exactly.

1. an early astronomical instrument consisting of a vertical shaft, column, or the like, for determining the altitude of the sun or the latitude of a position by mesuring the length of it's shadow cast at noon. By this contrived lack of definition it is constantly searching.

By definition this Gonom is everything that a gonom is not. It can not define it's latitude on the planet, it is not like a column or vertical shaft, it is in a dark room projecting light, it cast no defining shadows only memory shadows. The Gonom is a late astronomical instrument.

0. a organic shape in darkness flashing with intuitive reaction, tethered and nourished by the world from it's solar anus, searching, inquiring, learning and acting. a early human instrument.

Interpretation by Michael Cummins

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