Build          Coffin          Track          Trains          Nerves

An installation by Rob Godfrey

In function and form, Commuter is a representation of the human organism and the passage of time and mortality. The overall shape of Commuter is a sperm; the overall shape is the human body; the overall shape is a coffin: from the cradle to the grave we are on a journey, a commute, from one place to another.

Commuter is also a working model of the mind, a model which will be the basis for an attempt to create a non-biological intelligence. This is not 'artificial intelligence', whereby a digital computer attempts to simulate 'thought'. Instead it's an attempt to create real consciousness within a machine.

Commuter is Rob Godfrey's latest installation piece and is in essence a 50 foot / 15 metre long coffin with a 'body' laying within it. This body comprises of trackwork and trains. The complex trackwork inside the coffin mimics the arteries, veins and nerves in the human body. The model trains moving up and down the installation mimic the bodily fluids. Each train represents an emotional aspect of life and has its own colour. Sounds eminate from the trains to reflect these emotional themes. You can click on the words below to hear samples (these are mp3 files and will open in your media player)...

JOY      SORROW      BIRTH      SEX      ART      ILLNESS      ANIMALS      LOVE      WAR

An interactive installation  -   Commuter perceives the world around it by means of 64 sensors; 45 of them carried on the trains and 19 at fixed points around the installation. It can detect temperature, light, motion, moisture, vibration, air pressure and sound. Commuter's behaviour is determined by what it senses. For example, if a spectator sneezes the trains might start sneezing as well; or if Commuter is being displayed outdoors and it starts raining perhaps the trains will go into a rendition of Singing In The Rain. Commuter's pattern of movement, light and sound never repeats itself. This randomness comes about because it responds to its surroundings, and its surroundings are never entirely predictable.
Simulations can be found on the Trains page

This web site outlines how Commuter will be built and how Rob will attempt to give it consciousness. What you will discover on these pages is not only an unusual artwork, it's also a unique scientific experiment. The story behind Commuter is related in Rob Godfrey's fourth memoir The Iberian Job

Next Page - Build

Unless otherwise indicated, the poetry shown on this web site is by Rob Godfrey.

Tintin Pages      The 2CV Alaska Challenge     Books by Rob Godfrey     Local Radio France

The Burgundy Blog     Poems      Maison Valerie      About/Contact;