Drawn Together (2012 DOWNIE ESHKAR KAISER)

February 13 - March 31, 2012, Stubbins Studio Gallery, College of Architecture, Georgia Tech.

Here’s how it works. The physical manifestation of the installation, which echoes that of a drafting table, presents you with a variety of white drawing implements (chalk, gel-pen, pastel) with which you draw on a piece of black paper. While drawing you are also to put on headphones and a pair of 3d glasses.

As you draw your first mark on the paper, you hear its trace amplified in the headphones. The curved body of the table is itself an electro-acoustic instrument, with a resonating chamber like that of a cello.

When you withdraw your hand from the drawing, this signals the end of your turn. You then wait a moment for the computer to answer. It does so by projecting 3D lines that seem to draw themselves over, on, or under your paper. The virtual marks echo, extend, annotate, magnify, or complement the ones you’ve drawn physically, and as they draw in, the marks are accompanied by a music derived from the sound of your strokes.

You continue in this fashion, taking turns with the computer, until you decide you’re done – which you signal to the computer by signing in the box it’s projected on the lower right of the page.

In staging this encounter between old and new forms of drafting, we swim against a strong current of our time. For Drawn Together takes us back to a slower, more deliberate pace – its interaction gives none of the instantaneous feedback and reward of the computer games and programs we’ve grown accustomed to, but proceeds instead with all the appearance of care and reflection.

So there is no prospect of mastery or of winning, but something like the opposite, for you can’t direct the outcome (and nor can the computer). The “drawing” that the two of you produce as you take turns is an openended one that will take you and your thoughts to unexpected places.

Drawn Together is an artwork in which participants interact with a digital intelligence to create unforeseen and original drawings and music in 3d – a drawing performance whose form is in equal parts physical and virtual.