Is a pipe organ a prototype of the modern computer? It has keyboards – often many – and sophisticated mechanisms that could be considered to mimic the earliest computers that, when used at their best, create the most beautiful music, reverberating throughout our ancient cathedrals and churches.
The magnificent Father Willis organ of Salisbury Cathedral, dating from 1877, is undergoing complete restoration, thus many of its 4000 pipes have been removed and stand in artistic groups like British artist Sarah Morris’s sculpture ‘What can he explained can also be predicted’ created from coloured scientific glass, surrounded by ‘Ataraxia’ painted on the walls where she responds to the cuboid space in the White Cube, the urban environment around it, with graphic computerised symbols derived from the sounds of speech and music, with distinct musical connotations. Thus, ancient music and the modern digital age have merged in Morris’s exhibition ‘Machines do not make us into Machines’.
The main gallery at the White Cube in Bermondsey continues the theme of geometric shapes and forms linking to the flows and shapes of the modern digitised world with, finally, a video filmed in Abu Dhabi, capturing the geometries, colours, complexities and contradictions of a modern middle-eastern country, most of which is a rusty-orange sandy dessert single solitary roads crossing it between the different cities.