‘Reality is not always probable’ is constructed from tens of thousands of white dice and is generated, line by line, by manually emulating the rules of a simple computer binary program. Its title references a quote by Jorge Luis Borges and men’s disquiet towards a lack of controllable or predictable events and the belief that complete knowledge is impossible.
The work originates from the artists interest in the human experience of digital production and the shift away from the material towards the virtual, the networked, the digital – towards a new everyday reality, in which the material and immaterial are increasingly interchangeable, compressed and flattened into one plane of experience, as if all of life could be reduced to 1s and 0s.
It 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 virtual backbone to our physical world. Using everyday materials such as copper and high tech tape or, here, dice to simulate digital sequences, these works are physical reenactments of what is increasingly invisible. They reflect on the ways how the digital world increasingly reaches out into the physical one.
Not unlike Vera Molnar’s abstract geometrical and systematically determined paintings, Troika arrive at these logically-derived compositions by setting initial conditions or frameworks and then introduce an unpredictable element, here an evolutionary algorithm, from which the unexpected emerges.
The use of dice refers back to the historical use of dice as a means of determining fate, chance and luck. In restricting the visible numbers on the dice to 1 and 6, Troika have reduced the random potential of numbers to a binary outcome.
‘Life and Death of an Algorithm’, a work in this series, was included in the permanent collection of the Centre Pompidou in 2018.