By fronting the name DataGolem we wish to suggest both the numerical origins and a degree of ‘autonomous’ behaviour on the part of the intended software, in pre-performance and in-performance modes, as an adaptive, interactive partner.

Golem is a Yiddish word which comes from the Hebrew and means ‘shapeless mass’, this is the definition we will be working with in the LAB, however when coming upwith a title DataShaplessMass didn’t quite have the same punch.

“The word ‘Golem’ occurs in the Bible only once, in the Psalms 139:16 where it means an unformed substance or embryo, anything incomplete or not fully formed, like an eyeless needle…..”
(Cohen p.38).

The term golem is most commonly associated with the Jewish folklore, most famously with the tale from Rabbi Elijah of Chelm in the mid 16th century, who is said to be the first to use the notion of the power of the word - the ‘divine name’ to bring the artificial man ‘alive’; the golem of Prague by Rabbi Loew in 1580, made out of clay was created as a physical servant, later set the task of protecting the Jewish community from attack, but eventually runs amok threatening innocent lives.

‘The Golem’
Gustav Meyrink 1915 (first published)
Published by Dedalus 2005, ISBN 1 873982 91 7

‘Der Golem’ film
Paul Wegener 1920
Set in the Jewish ghetto in 16th century Prague, an example of German Expressionist, Weimar Cinema. This film will be screened as part of the DataGolem LAB.

“A golem is haunting us. It is trying to tell us something”
(Hardt, Negri 2005 p.10 - 11)

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