(June 30, 2021 – Los Angeles) Art platform Illust Space presents audio-visual artist Max Cooper’s latest project PVNP, an augmented reality visualization of Cooper’s ongoing study of the aesthetics of knowledge creation in collaboration with coder and architect Jessica In. The sculptures are built by spatially mapping the inner workings of the algorithmic processes we rely on every day to restrict and direct the knowledge of our personal data via the RSA algorithm. This first presentation comprises two augmented reality sculptures, accessible via mobile devices during Cooper’s live show on July 6th at the birthplace of much foundational knowledge, the Acropolis in Athens, Greece.
Built on the famous unsolved problem of P v NP, the RSA algorithm is a cornerstone of secure communications, global banking, cryptocurrency, and NFT technology. If solved, P v NP could open the door for hackers to access and manipulate our most secure and personal data, making what was once unknown known. Max Cooper and Jessica In’s public sculptures aim to reveal the inner workings of the encryption and decryption of the algorithm, mapping the mathematical process to a spatial form so that we can see why and how the system works.
PVNP provides technical insight as well as an artistic appreciation of the beauty of a system so central to our lives but never before seen. Beyond the aesthetics of cryptography, the PVNP project is about the wider epistemological question of what we can and cannot know and the aesthetics of the pursuit of knowledge itself.
Max Cooper on the project: “I’ve been finding that boiling down nature to its sources often yields beautiful forms for visual projects, and the question of what we can know and the problem of P vs NP was an immediately engaging idea that popped out when I started chatting to the team at Illust Space about what we could do in the crypto-inspired art space. The major challenge was how to turn these ideas into visual, sculptural form, and how we could create meaningful structures that could teach us about the nature of the systems at play. I started chatting to Jessica In about how to map from the chosen starting point, the RSA algorithm, to a spatial form, and she fixed my messy ideas, coded and developed them into something far more varied and refined. It’s been an exciting and rewarding process working with Jessica and everyone at Illust Space. The project has huge potential for learning and creation of new, beautiful, and even practically useful, art.”
On July 6th, the first two of these sculptures will be on view at the Acropolis in Athens – one appearing as part of Cooper’s performance at Odeon of Herodes Atticus, and another outside the venue to be gifted to the city of Athens as a piece of public art. This drop will act as the first stop for Illust Space’s AR show, Ghosting, which will travel around the world this summer. The sculptures will also go on auction as NFTs on Illust Space’s marketplace after being minted on Tezos, an eco-friendly open-source crypto platform.
Max Cooper will perform at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus at the invitation of Plissken, as part of the Athens Epidaurus Festival on Tuesday, July 6th.