Oliver 'Olsen' Wolf - executive Sesselastronaut
Date and Place of Birth:
Started his visit on Planet Earth on January 30, 1975 in VS-Villingen (Black Forest), Germany.
Olsen is the executive sesselastronaut of the HASA. Olsen serves as the agency's first in command and oversees the day to day work of HASA's functional offices. In his position he consults in various affairs, e.g. how to reconcile science with the exploration of the fantastic and the imaginary.
Area of Research:
Technology as antennas for imagination
My works combine technological research and artistic experiments. They play with the imaginary surplus produced by the affective qualities we tend to interpret into perceiving automatons.
The futuristic, visionary, and euphoric qualities of techné fascinate me. These appear intensively at the intersection of automatons, cosmonautics, and cognitive science.
Let us suppose that most of our appreciation of the environment amounts to the interpretation of observed and sensed physical motion. If that is the case, then technology provides us with an increasing variety of sensormotor systems and technological constructs, such as sentient robots, that seem to be able to express themselves in physical space by way of reaction, choice, and motion. Key concepts in robotic design such as “bio-inspiration” and “embodiment” also indicate that automatons are still designed according to the underlying structures of simulated mimesis. Their artificiality is modelled on specific dimensions of reality that, in addition to their alleged function, also carry somewhat utopian and/or dystopian aspects. In the case of 'bio-inspired' machines, for example, the ancient dream of humanity of overcoming the division between nature and technology is very much present moreover, it shapes our interpretation of these machines.
Machines and technology are at the heart of my artistic practice. So far, I have built technological apparatuses that are at the same time sculptures, objects, and installations. I am particularly interested in machines that are turned on themselves, like vacuum cleaners cleaning themselves. Such machines or devices fulfil their main function for its own sake. As such, they oscillate between utilitarian and aesthetic demands. Besides the aesthetics of the performative, I focus on the aesthetics of "curiosities," whose initial significance lies in their ability to stimulate our imagination. Aided by this propensity for imagination, which Stanislav Lem described as a “species reflex,” new types of sense-fiction and other potential functions are generated. These I locate beyond the overt function of technology, purpose-rationally serving the sustaining and unfolding of a form of life. My interest lies in the exploration of associative fields of significance generated by the potentiality of automatons. Because ultimately what we encounter in technology is ourselves.