Take a Number
collect all 10,000

TAKE A NUMBER | May 24th to June 3rd, 2017 | Performance and installation
Evan Daniel: Take a Number
Sculpting digit 6468

Evan Daniel: Take a Number
Digit 8835 - by this point the performance was quite natural

Evan Daniel: Take a Number
Sculpting the very first digit: the '1' in 3.14 (the first thousand digits were done in my studio to test the system)

Sculpting digit 9999 (wearing my RISD commencement robes from earlier that day)


TAKE A NUMBER is a performance in which I sculpt marble to recall π from memory, counting the strikes of hammer on chisel for each number. I look in my memory for the next digit, hit the chisel that many times, and submit the number by pressing a button to my side.

Each number is checked by a computer, which keeps track of what digit I'm up to and signals when I'm right or wrong by flashing a green or red light. If I'm wrong, I must enter the correct digit.

The debris from the stone are funneled through the front of the device. The debris and the stone arguably contain information about the digits of π; hence, the audience is invited to "take a number" by taking a piece of the stone with them.

For each time the chisel is struck, the computer takes a picture of me carving. Collectively these pictures serve as another expression of the numbers as they are carved.

My intention in this work is to make the process of representing a number from memory as explicit as possible. I wish to respect the complexity of the act, which is my rationale for sculpting: we are expected to read nuance in sculptural form. There is tension between the simple, abstract austerity of the numbers and the complex, concrete austerity of the stone. It's also great cognitive exercise, given the conjunction of counting, memory, and form.

click one of the ten thousand dots below
to see me carving that number::

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