bios [bible], 2007/2010

Those entering the Abbey library during the PLAY ADMONT . regionale10 exhibition in 2010 would have found themselves, much to their surprise, confronted by a massive industrial robot.

Equipped with a quill, this machine was busy for several months writing the whole of the New Testament on an extensive roll of paper. Rather like a medieval monk in a monastery scriptorium, the robot gradually produced each line of calligraphy with meticulous precision. The imposing bulk of the robot, its movements and the sounds it produced were designed to inspire visitors to interpret them in their own way and evoke speculation concerning what can now actually be achieved and the possibility of a future world in which humans and machines together produce culture.

Bibliothek robotlabbios [bible] was an installation of Robotlab, an informal group of artists (Matthias Gommel, Martina Haitz, Jan Zappe) formed in 2000 that is affiliated with the Institute of Image Media at the Karlsruhe Centre for Art and Media (ZKM). The core themes of bios [bible] are faith and technical progress. The installation brings together two of the fundamental aspects of western societies: Christian belief and scientific rationalism. In this context, the medium of writing plays a special role as it is used both to document Holy Scripture and record knowledge.

‘Basic input output system’ (bios) is a computing term that is used to designate the component that coordinates the interaction of hard drive and software and thus provides the essential, indispensable operating system that first allows computers to start up and process information. It thus represents that basic program, the initial causative script, on which all subsequent programs build.

The paper roll with the script produced by the installation in the library was subsequently added to the collection of Admont Abbey.

(up from 8th Century)

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