‘Virtual Failure’ is a tapestry-like construction made of tens of thousands of coloured dice generated, line by line, by manually emulating the rules of a simple computer binary program. The work originates from an interest in the human experience of digital production and the shift away from the material towards the virtual.
‘Virtual Failure’ is part of a recent series of works in which Troika adapt systems and methods, such as computer algorithms or mathematical sequences that are borrowed from the digital backbone of our physical world. Using everyday materials to simulate digital sequences, these works are physical reenactments of what is increasingly invisible. They merge a process of making – close to traditions of ‘handmade’ automatism – and a mathematical kind of chance inspired by probability theory and protocols more frequent in geometric abstraction.
Not unlike Vera Molnar’s abstract geometrical and systematically determined paintings, Troika arrive at these logically-derived compositions by setting initial conditions - here the choice and order of the first row of coloured dice - and then by introducing an unpredictable element - here a evolutionary algorithm - from which the unexpected emerges.
By pairing dice, a symbol for fate, with a scientific computational system, ‘Virtual Failure’ is a homage to twentieth-century artistic recourses to chance and systems of order based on random decisions, including those of Marcel Duchamp mock-scientific procedures - ‘3 Standard Stoppages’ – that subverted scientific rationalism and questioned the status quo of the processes underlying the scientific worldview.