Artist David Fried's "Self Organizing Still-Life" (SOS) is a series of interactive, sound-stimulated kinetic sculptures, which reveal his exploration into the inherent qualities of networked and emergent systems operating far-from-equilibrium intrinsic to nature, individual psyche, communication and social relationships.
Whatever the scale or materials used for the SOS, they all consist of solid hand-made spheres, which are stirred into motion by ambient sound on a predetermined level object. Audible sound is transformed live into waves that silently stimulate each of the spheres into motion. The resulting action of the individual spheres and their interactions with one another are undetermined. They rearrange themselves in continually new patterns of elegantly fluid motion. Some kiss, some spin off alone, while others race head-on only to meet with a soft embrace, or swerve around one another, often changing the path and destiny of each other without physical contact, as each sphere is able to sense one another.
No two spheres are alike -- each is composed of either solid stone, or synthetic polymers layered with organic materials such as marble dust and rare earth, with no moving parts. The artist infuses them with unique bipolar qualities, and an ability to interact with each other in inimitable and unexpected ways on an elemental level, rather than a mechanical one. Fried is therefore able to give each sphere an individual personality, allowing them to respond and behave differently to sound, and with each new artwork, create an entirely unique interdependent family of individuals that we can influence, but not control.
Like two people would dance differently to the same music, the individual spheres interact in a unique, non-repeatable choreography directly initiated by its environment.
As we simultaneously influence and trace the chaos of the spheres, our attention becomes increasingly focused on the non-linear dynamic relationships that unfold between them, effectively shifting the emphasis away from the individual objects themselves towards a highly subjective glimpse of a more complex individual picture.
Sculptures/Installations/Film: David Fried
Music: Isotope "utonian automatic", John Lurie "the long walk", The Lounge Lizards "john zorn's s&m circus", DMST "besides", 100 Records "kiss".
Way of Words, No.1, Lose your mind so you have something to find, 2008, archival C-print, 21 x 24 cm. edition 8
I have always worked from concept. Finding the right medium to fit the concept - or in the case of the SOS sculptures combining techniques and even inventing new mediums like interactive granite - allows me much greater flexibility to express my ideas. Consequently, I am free to pursue ideas that might not have occurred to me if I were to begin within the constraints of a single medium. Still, the road between intent and outcome may take some incubation time and a lot of patience to develop skills previously unpracticed. For instance, before the first functioning SOS was created, I needed 2 years of research. I had to take my ideas from pure theory to engineering reality, which as a painter was completely new for me. This process incorporated studying physics, mould making, working with stone and electronics, and then, putting it all together in this unique way - that was extremely challenging for me.
(David Fried, interview by Christopher Chambers/June 2001, NYC)