Ghost in the Machine: Alan Turing
This artwork is a dedication to the man who broke the Enigma code and did perhaps more than any other single person to bring the Allies in WWII to victory.
His groundbreaking thought experiment Computing Machines and Intelligence posed the question, “Can Machines Think?” This was before digital computers; his thought experiment utilized spools of tape and a reader that could both code and erase binary data on the tape. For this reason I’ve created this entire artwork using VHS tape and internal parts of a VCR – the head and the eraser- hidden within the folds of the inner brain. The VHS tape is of his favorite film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
Alan Turing completed his PhD here at Princeton; his final work described morphogenesis – figuring out the patterns of growth in living beings. Alluding to this I carved the “a code of life” into the apple; I’ve also included some other shapes of chemical reactions found in nature, now referred to as Turing Patterns, as he described in, The Chemical Basis of Morphogenesis.
No one is certain, but it is suggested that he took is own life in 1954 by eating an apple poisoned with arsenic.