Lutz Dammbeck

Seek II

"Seek II" by Lutz Dammbeck. On view are several irregularly stacked silver cuboids. They are located in a glass box. They are moved by a device on the ceiling of the box.
Lutz Dammbeck
Seek II
Medium / Material / Technic
Mixed media installation

ZKM | Sammlung

The title »Seek II« refers to a replica of the machine Seek, which was featured in Jack Burnham’s 1970 exhibition »SOFTWARE – Information Technology. Its New Meaning for Art« in the context of concept art, computers, and hypertext systems. Seek was created as a cybernetic world model and a behaviorist experimental platform by the Architecture Machine Group at MIT. It is an early attempt at turning computers into machines capable of learning.

With »Seek II«, Dammbeck recreates a machine habitat in which the chaotic behavior of gerbils is confronted with the programmed behavior of a robot. Analyzing the animals’ behavior was meant to enable predictions of human actions.

In his accompanying documentary film »Seek II«, Lutz Dammbeck reconstructs the scientific and historical context and reflects on his 2007 and 2009 experiment reenactments. Additional materials and documentary objects turn the exhibition room into a historical archive.

This excursion into the history of cybernetic theories of society is becoming increasingly relevant in the face of today’s media conditions: Machine surveillance of individuals and groups and big data analysis have become firmly established as means of directing opinions and behaviors.

»Seek II«, Installation, 2001–2023 – programming: Lars Vaupel; metalwork: Felix Härtel; coordination: Fritz Barthel; preparation: Hans-Jürgen Altner; consultation (behavioral biology): René Weinandy; Mongolian gerbils (Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg).

»Seek II«, film, 2017 – editor: Sebastian Blum.