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exhibiting artists

ARTIST: Joe Benner

TITLE: Aesthetics of 5-digit numbers

artist's photo of one of the components

MATERIALS: Nixie tubes and LEDs.

DIMENSIONS: 13" x 17" x 3"

DATE: 2007

DESCRIPTION: Five-digit numbers shown as a nixie tube display. Each digit of the number is counted up to. That is, for any number's display, all 5 digits begin at zero and count to their desired values together (with each digit stopping where it should).

Once the number is displayed, there will be a pause to give the viewer of the piece time to evaluate the number's aesthetic merits.

Two buttons will be available—one for like and one for dislike—to allow the viewer to choose their preference for the number. This response will be added to the current stored values. An indicator will signal when a response can be made - very possibly a set of 1 red, 1 yellow, and 1 green LEDs.

STATEMENT: Because of a work requirement I had for a while, I regularly needed to enter a lot of six digit numbers into a telephone keypad and also on a computer keyboard. Over time I discovered that some of these numbers appealed to me more than others. I find the idea of multi-digit numbers having aesthetic appeal to be quite fascinating and have wondered whether there is much commonality among people regarding aesthetic responses to digit sequences.

I have asked a large number of people to look over a list of 100 5-digit numbers and rate the numbers on whether they appeal to the viewer or not. The viewer could use any criteria to rate the numbers but I asked them to try and base their decisions on aesthetic appeal. This piece is one of several ways I intend to display the responses.

Joe Benner
Tacoma, WA
joeb AT


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